Labour Court Database
File Number: CD89558
Case Number: LCR12586
Section / Act: S67
Parties: HALLMARK CARDS (IRELAND) LIMITED - and - IRISH PRINT UNION
Claim by the Union for the withdrawal of written warnings.
5. The Court having considered the submissions from the parties
is of the view that the Company did not act unreasonably in the
circumstances and accordingly does not recommend concession of the
However noting that the expiry date of the warning notices has now
been passed the Court also considers that in the interest of
harmonious relations the Company should now give further
consideration to removing notices from the files.
Division: Ms Owens Mr Brennan Ms Ni Mhurchu
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD89558 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR12586
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1976
PARTIES: HALLMARK CARDS (IRELAND) LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE FEDERATED UNION OF EMPLOYERS)
IRISH PRINT UNION
1. Claim by the Union for the withdrawal of written warnings.
2. The claim concerns 17 workers who are employed at the
Company's plant at Rathfarnham, Dublin. On 8th March, 1989 the
Union issued a written instruction to its members to finish work
early on Thursday, 16th March, 1989. Seventeen workers finished
early and as a result of this action the Company issued written
warnings (which would be appended to their files) to each of the
workers concerned. The Union claims that the instruction issued
to the workers concerned to finish early was in accordance with an
agreement reached between the Irish Print Federation (IPF) and the
Dublin Printing Trades Group of Unions. The Company states that
it is not a member of the IPF and that the Union's action is in
breach of a Company/Union procedural plant agreement in force
since 1981. The Company has refused to withdraw the warnings.
The dispute was referred to the conciliation service of the Labour
Court on the 20th April, 1989. Conciliation conferences were held
on the 3rd May and 11th July, 1989 but no agreement was reached.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Court for investigation and
recommendation on the 3rd August, 1989. A Court hearing was held
on the 22nd September, 1989.
3. 1. As St. Patrick's day fell on a Friday the Union issued an
instruction to its members in all offices to take the shorter
working day, which normally applied on the Friday, on
Thursday, 16th March, 1989. This was the correct decision on
the part of the Union because the issue had previously been
referred to the Court and in LCR12328 and subsequent
clarification the Union's stance was vindicated.
3. 2. The I.P.F. had sought clarification on the matter and the
Company agreed to consider their position in the light of the
Labour Court recommendation and also agreed that no warnings
would be issued until the matter had been resolved. The
Company then sent a letter to the Union accepting the
recommendation (details supplied to the Court). However, on
the 12th April the Company issued written warnings to the
3. The Union's position in this dispute is the correct one.
It took a decision to take the shorter working day on the
Thursday on the basis that this was the right procedure, and
had in fact been accepted in negotiation with the I.P.F. in
1988. The Union sees absolutely no justification for the
issuing of written warnings and requests the Court to
recommend that they be withdrawn from Company records.
4. 1. There is a problem solving procedure which is set down in
clear and explicit terms under the Procedural Agreement to
which this Union, among others, are signatories. The
Agreement which has been to the mutual advantage of both
employer and unions was concluded in 1981 after very lengthy
negotiations and has remained in force ever since.
2. The action of the workers concerned is in complete
contravention of the Agreement. Such behaviour left the
Company with no option but to take disciplinary measures
against those involved. It should be noted that 35 other
Union members, as well as those union members other than IPU
employed by the Company, respected the integrity of the plant
agreement on this matter and accepted the position advocated
by the Company. During the 8 year life of the Agreement none
of the other signatory unions have voiced any objections to
its procedures and in relation to the specific action taken by
the workers concerned, other unions on site stated that they
would have no part in the action taken by IPU.
3. The Union contends that this problem arose out of
interpretation difficulties in relation to an IPF agreement.
The Company is not a member of IPF and as such the agreement
referred to by the Union does not apply. This was pointed out
to the Union during all negotiations, and that the internal
plant Agreement must be followed on this occasion as on all
others. It should be noted that in LCR12328 the Court
recommended "that the workers concerned should have worked a
normal full working day on Thursday".