Labour Court Database
File Number: CD88673
Case Number: LCR12056
Section / Act: S20(1)
Parties: MECCA RACING LIMITED - and - IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Claim by the Union for recognition, and the right to negotiate conditions of pay and employment on behalf of its members.
4. The Court recommends that the Company recognise the Union and
negotiate with it on behalf of the members in its employment.
Division: Mr O'Connell Mr Shiel Ms Ni Mhurchu
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD88673 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR12056
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
PARTIES: MECCA RACING LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE FEDERATED UNION OF EMPLOYERS)
IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
1. Claim by the Union for recognition, and the right to negotiate
conditions of pay and employment on behalf of its members.
2. The Company is involved in the bookmaking industry in Ireland.
It is a subsidiary of Grand Metropolitan Plc, which is the 13th
largest company in Britain. In April, 1988, the Union was
approached by a number of employees of Mecca Racing Limited in
Dublin with a view to joining the Union. Following discussions
with this group, invitations were issued to all the Dublin staff
of the Company to a meeting with the Union in Liberty Hall on the
4th of May. At the end of that meeting and subsequently, the
Union enrolled a number of members. On 6th May, 1988, the Union
wrote to the Company, informing it that it had members on its
workforce and requesting a meeting to discuss salaries and
conditions of employment. There was no response to this letter,
and the Union again wrote to the Company on 20th May, renewing its
requests for a meeting. When this letter was not answered, the
Union wrote once more on 1st July, 1988. On 9th July, 1988, the
Company replied to the Union declining it's request for a meeting.
It stated that staff consultative procedures had been established,
through which the employees could discuss their terms and
conditions of employment. The Union were not satisfied with this
response, and sought to have the matter investigated by the Labour
Court. The Company were not prepared to accede to this
investigation. The Union referred the matter to the Court under
Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969, on 23rd
August, 1988 and agreed to be bound by the recommendation of the
Court. On 13th September, 1988, the Federated Union of Employers
wrote to the Court on behalf of the Company. The letter stated
that after careful consideration the Company had decided not to
attend the hearing, as it believed it's current consultative
process was adequate, and it did not wish to consider alternative
means of discussing terms and conditions of employment. The
Company did not attend the Court hearing which took place on 23rd
3. 1. At the time when the workers first joined the Union, the
Company had 44 units in Ireland, 30 of which were in Dublin.
Most of the units previously traded as separate companies.
Since there were different rates of pay and conditions between
the units, the workers felt the need to have their acquired
rights and entitlements protected, in case they would be lost
following the amalgamation with the new owners.
2. There is no other Union involved in the dispute.
Recognition of the right of unions to negotiate for their
members is standard in Irish industrial relations. Freedom of
association is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Irish
Constitution. There have been numerous Labour Court
recommendations in the recent past where the Court has found
in favour of union recognition (details supplied to Court).
3. The Company is well aware of the Union's attempt to
represent the workforce. It has responded by issuing a number
of memoranda, and rules and procedures guidelines to the
workers. The Union believes that the current mechanisms
available to the workers to represent their interests are
totally inadequate and heavily biased in favour of the
4. The Company has a number of legal obligations concerning
the workforce of companies it has taken over. These
obligations derive from the European Council Directive of 14th
February, 1977, which seeks to ensure that the new owners of a
Company shall observe the terms and conditions of employment
which existed prior to the takeover. This directive is
embodied in Statutory Instrument No. 306 of 1980 (details
supplied to Court).
5. All the Union requires is that proposed changes in terms
and conditions of employment be discussed and agreed. It may
be pointed out that the Union represents the workers of
another international bookmaking and leisure group, which is a
major rival of the Company here concerned. The Union has
concluded an agreement with this rival Company. There is no
moral or legal justification for the Company's attitude. The
Union requests the Court to find in its favour.