INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
ADAMS CHILDRENSWEAR LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
REPRESENTED BY MANDATE
1. Written warning.
2. The worker has been employed in the concession outlet in Arnotts, Henry Street, since 1991. The dispute concerns a "stage II" written warning to the worker and the attendant non-payment of bonus money during the 6 months life of the warning.
Following a Rights Commissioner's Recommendation in May, 1995, the Company issued a 'statement of terms and conditions of employment' booklet to all of its employees. This document was accepted by the Union. The Company's disciplinary procedure states that "bonus will not be received for the period that a "stage II" or "stage III" warning is in force".
On 12th December, 1995, a union meeting was arranged in the Union's head office. The worker claims that the following occurred: At 4.30 p.m. she was approached by another staff member who enquired about the Union meeting. Following a conversation, it was agreed that the 2 workers would go to the meeting. They met later that evening but as the member had domestic arrangements she did not, in fact, go to the meeting.
The following day the worker asked the member if she had wanted her name put forward for Union membership. The member became very aggressive and asked if her name had been put forward. The worker attempted to explain how someone applied for Union membership but the member kept repeating the above question.
A couple of days later, the unit manager spoke to the worker about the incident. The worker asked to have representation. A meeting took place on 20th December, 1995. The worker was accompanied by a Union official. At the end of the meeting the worker was informed that she was to be issued with a "stage II" warning because she had "verbally bullied and pressurised another member of staff in particular regarding Union membership and attendance of Union meetings".
The Union referred the dispute to the Rights Commissioner but the Company refused to attend a hearing. The Union then referred the dispute to the Labour Court on 24th May, 1996, in accordance with Section 20(1) Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on 23rd July, 1996.
3. 1. The issuing of the "stage II" warning was unjustified. The worker did not at any time try to pressurise the member into joining the Union. She presumed that the member wished to join when she enquired about the meeting.
2. A number of workers who are in the Union feel that they are being pressurised by management because of their membership. As a result, the level of Union membership is low. The "stage II" warning should be removed from the worker's record and the bonus money lost (approximately £450) should be refunded to her.
1. The worker concerned had put a lot of pressure on the staff member by comparing her work with another staff member, and also by the fact that she was not a Union member. During the meeting of 20th December, 1995, the assistant manager stated that she had overheard the worker pressurise the member about attending a Union meeting. Management offered the worker the opportunity to deal with the issue through the internal appeals procedure but she insisted on referring it to a third party. The Company felt that the incident was serious enough to warrant a "stage II" rather than a "stage I" warning as the staff member was very upset.
The Court has considered the submissions from the parties and has concluded, on the basis of the evidence presented, that the imposition of a "stage II" written warning was not justified and, accordingly, should be withdrawn and the bonus due paid.
The Court was presented with conflicting evidence as to what actually took place and is of the view that, if the alleged act did in fact take place, a "stage I" warning would have been more appropriate.
The Court so determines.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31st July, 1996______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.