Labour Court Database
File Number: CD90141
Case Number: AD9024
Section / Act: S67
Parties: J.A. WOOD LIMITED - and - SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Appeal by the Union against a Rights Commissioners recommendation G.C. 41/89 concerning compensation for loss of overtime.
Division: MrMcGrath Mr Keogh Mr Walsh
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD90141 APPEAL DECISION NO: AD2490
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1976
PARTIES: J.A. WOOD LIMITED
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
1. Appeal by the Union against a Rights Commissioners
recommendation G.C. 41/89 concerning compensation for loss of
2. In 1983 the supervisory foreman in charge of the blockyard at
the Killarney depot retired and the Company replaced him with a
"working" foreman. The Union claimed compensation for loss of
overtime on the basis that the introduction by the Company of a
"working" foreman had caused a reduction in the overtime earnings
of three workers. The Company rejected the claim and the matter
was referred to a Rights Commissioner who investigated the dispute
on 11th December, 1989 and issued the following recommendation on
10th January, 1990:-
"The Construction Industry which is mainly the business that
J.A. Wood Limited are dependent on, was during those years
suffering a severe recession and I would therefore recommend
that the claim for compensation for loss of earnings fails.
However, I recommend that the Company make a nominal payment
of #100 per employee in question, for their failure to
discuss with the Union the appointment of a 'Working' Foreman
prior to the appointment being made."
The Union, on 16th February, 1990 appealed this recommendation to
the Labour Court under Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations
Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal in Tralee on 16th May,
3. 1. The introduction by the Company of a "working" foreman in
1983 dramatically affected the earnings of the maintenance man
in the blockyard. When the foreman transferred from the
blockyard to the pit he affected the overtime earnings of the
two maintenance men already assigned duties in the pit. This
had consequential loss in overtime for the three maintenance
men concerned. The Union has never quantified the claim as it
was never afforded the opportunity to get into serious
negotiations on the matter.
2. The three workers concerned were offered work by the
Company at a new depot twenty miles away from Killarney. This
offer was rejected due to lack of facilities at the new depot
and disagreement over subsistence rates.
3. Whilst the rest of the country may have been in depression
during 1987 and 1988, the situation in relation to Kerry was
unique. They were boom years for the Company and a
considerable amount of public works were carried out. The
Rights Commissioner did not take this into account and
rejected the Union's representations as regards loss of
overtime during those busy years. The Court should reject the
findings of the Rights Commissioner and allow the appeal.
4. 1. The amount of overtime worked is directly connected with
the level of business that the Company experiences. In 1987
and 1988 the level of sales in the Killarney depot fell as did
the levels of overtime worked (details of sales and overtime
earnings from 1985 to 1989 supplied to the Court). The
dramatic reduction in sales in 1987 and 1988 is the reason why
there was a reduction in overtime earnings for the three
2. The Company has given the Union opportunities to quantify
its claim but it has not done so. There were opportunities
for the three workers concerned to earn overtime during 1987
at a new depot but they refused this offer.
5. The Court having fully considered the oral and written
submissions of the parties finds no grounds for altering the
recommendation of the Rights Commissioner.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th June, 1990. Deputy Chairman