first_imgHighland RadioA former Highland Radio DJ is to take the station to court after they failed to pay him €26,000 in compensation he won in a constructive dismissal case.Former afternoon show host Steven Lynch obtained a determination against the Letterkenny station on 20th October 2015 at an Employment Appeals Tribunal. This has not been paid by Highland Radio despite the fact that a six week period for an appeal has since passed.Mr Lynch has now referred the matter to the workplace relationship commission to have the determination enforced through the courts.Mr. Lynch told Donegal Daily that he is “extremely disappointed” that he has had to embark upon these further proceedings against his former employer.Asked if Highland may have lodged an appeal in the case, Mr Lynch said he has checked with his legal team and no correspondence has been filed.“I honestly thought that after all I had been through that this was the end of the matter. But even after winning the case, I am still no better off,” he said.Former Highland Radio DJ Steven Lynch.The well-known Inishowen broadcaster took the case for constructive dismissal at an Employment Appeals Tribunal held at the Silver Tassie Hotel on four separate dates last year.Both sides set out their cases at the tribunal which gave details of Mr Lynch’s working conditions and arrangements at the station.Mr Lynch claimed he was forced to leave the station in April 2013 claiming he could no longer survive on his salary after the use of a company car and a sales position were taken from him.The Employment Appeals Tribunal found that Highland’s behaviour justified Lynch resigning and claiming constructive dismissal saying there had been a “fundamental breach of contract.”The tribunal found however, that Mr Lynch’s attempts to find alternative employment was mainly limited to broadcasting which they said was too restrictive an approach at the time.They then found in favour of Mr Lynch and recommended the awarding of €26,000 by Highland to their former presenter.BACKGROUND TO THE CASELynch, 37, from Carndonagh, had been employed by the Letterkenny-based station since 2004 until before he left in May 2013.He quickly became a popular presenter on its afternoon show and his show’s listenership was second only to the flagship Shaun Doherty Morning Show.He earned a basic wage of €394 for presenting his show but also had the use of a company car from Monday until Friday and was also on 20% of any adverts he sold to a list of between 40 and 50 clients.The car was one of a pool of three cars which were sponsored by Inishowen Motors in return for €10,000 worth of advertising on the station each year.When the company was sold to the Rabbitt family in 2008, a series of cost-cutting measures were introduced.Former station manager Collins told the tribunal that the business had turnover of €2.5 million with a profit of €750,000 at the time.However, despite a turnover of €2 million in 2009, this was the year the recession started to bite and staff were asked to take a 10% pay cut.Mr Collins said he thought this was excessive as the station was still in a very healthy state.He added that during 2009, the company paid more than €700,000 in bank debt as well as €100,000 to agents for the sale of the station.Local auditors were also replaced by outside agencies leading to another substantial cost.In his evidence, former station manager Collins told how marketing manager John Clancy, who joined the company in 2012, was constantly raising the issue of Mr Lynch and how he had become “obsessed” with him.His client base on the Inishowen peninsula was eventually reduced to 15 and the use of the company car was taken from him and taken over by Mr Clancy.Mr Collins said he told the radio presenter to go and spend time with his father who was dying at the time saying “Highland Radio will still be here when you get back.”The tribunal was told that Mr Lynch was looking for an extra €200 to compensate him for the loss of both the car and his position within sales.Mr Collins took this to the board but they rejected it.Solicitor Ciaran McLaughlin said his client estimated he was at a loss of €67,294 since leaving the station in May 2013.The tribunal was told that Mr Lynch was immediately replaced by another presenter Gary Gamble who was still employed at the station.HIGHLAND Radio has had hundreds of thousands of euro pumped into it to save it from closure, its owners have said.Members of the Galway-based Rabbitte family spoke out as they gave evidence in an employment tribunal held at the Silver Tassie Hotel in Letterkenny yesterday.Gerry Rabbitte and his son Tim both told the tribunal that claims by former manager Charlie Collins that they had taken huge amounts of cash out of Highland when staff were hit with ten per cent pay cuts were wrong.Former DJ Steven Lynch is suing for more than €75,000 in lost income since he left the station in May 2013.Mr Lynch has alleged that Gerry Rabbitte’s son-in-law and marketing boss John Clancy had “chipped away” at him until he quit.He claimed his wages were cut from an average of €611 per week to €390 after most of his advertising sales clients were taken off him in January 2013.He also had access to a pool car stopped, increasing the cost of driving to and from his home in Carndonagh.Mr Lynch left saying he could not support his wife and children on the €390 he received for presenting his popular afternoon show.However Tim Rabbitte said that while Mr Lynch was a good presenter “it was clear his sales were not good enough but I wanted him to remain as a presenter”.Tim Rabbitte told the hearing: “I offered him €450 and suggest he think about it; a lot of our DJs would do other things outside work using the Highland name and thought that would help.”Highland claimed that Mr Collins had already made his mind up to leave the station and launch a rival bid for the franchise and that Mr Lynch was part of this.“It was clear his mind was elsewhere,” said Tim Rabbitte.He said the station had expected a response to an offer given via Mr Collins of €450 plus a €50 fuel allowance.“We would have considered it had he come back asking for more,” said Tim Rabbitte.But the company didn’t get a response, he said. Instead Lynch quit.“If Mr Collins came back with a compromise figure we would have looked at it; but he never came back – that was the point at which it perished; that was the end of it,” said Tim Rabbitte.He said the station was in a difficult position. Revenue was down forty per cent.He denied claims that €700,00 a year taken out of the company was for other companies or the family.“My family have never taken a penny out of that company – this was an attempt to blacken the name of Highland radio,” said Tim Rabbitte.“The money all went back to pay loans.”Gerry Rabbitte repeated this in his evidence in the case.He said they had paid too much for the station and had bank loans to pay.He accused Mr Collins of making claims that money was taken out of Highland for other companies.“I want to categorically deny this. This was planted out there by Mr Collins that we were taking money out of Highland to pay off another company; we were paying nothing other than the loan we took to buy Highland Radio.“We are there seven years now and we’ve never taken a cent out. We have put hundreds of thousands of euro into the station otherwise it would have been gone,” he said.Mr Rabbitte said he didn’t know at the time that Mr Collins was planning to launch a bid for the radio license.“In hindsight we were very gullible at the time. Mr Collins later tried to take our business off us.”He also refuted claims by Mr Lynch that he got a phone call from a member of staff at Highland Radio on the day his dad died asking him to leave the pool car to Buncrana for use by another DJ.“Nobody from our company made that call and the member of staff wants an apology for that,” said Gerry Rabbitte.Mr Lynch’s solicitor Ciaran McLaughlin responded: “It happened and I can assure you she won’t be getting one.”Mr Rabbitte confirmed his son-in-law was no longer with Highland Radio.Mr McLaughlin asked him if this was because of his role in this case.Mr Rabbitte denied this, saying Mr Clancy had taken up a better paid position elsewhere.Mr McLaughlin then asked why there had been no negotiation with Mr Lynch who had been offered €450 at that stage plus €50 diesel allowance.“I told Mr Collins he could negotiate. A child of eight could understand that,” said Gerry Rabbitte.FORMER DJ TO SUE AFTER HIGHLAND FAIL TO PAY FOR CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL CASH was last modified: January 7th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalHighland RadioSteven Lynchtribunallast_img

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