INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
RADIO TELEFIS EIREANN (RTE)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation CW016/96.
2. The worker concerned has been employed by the Authority since September, 1966 and has worked as a Production Assistant (PA) since 1972. At her request she was assigned to the Television Sports Department in September, 1980, where she specialised in all aspects of sports programming. The Union claims that the worker was transferred against her will with effect from 12th June, 1995, because she expressed a grievance to the Group Head of TV Sport concerning her working conditions. The Authority states that Management has responsibility for the allocation of resources, both in terms of staff and facilities, and that, in accordance with their job descriptions, all Production Assistants may be reassigned from time to time.
The dispute was the subject of a Rights Commissioner's investigation on 5th June, 1996, following which the Rights Commissioner issued his recommendation as follows:-
"I recommend that (the worker) accepts her transfer and that the Authority will give favourable consideration to her preference for another Department bar the Sports one."
The Union appealed the Recommendation to the Labour Court on 28th June, 1996, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal on 26th September, 1996, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The worker concerned was given conflicting reasons for her transfer, but at the Rights Commissioner's hearing Management admitted that she would still be assigned to the Sports Department except for a confidential letter dated 24th April, 1995, from the Group Head of TV Sport requesting her reassignment.
2. The worker has an excellent attendance record with only one day's absence due to illness in nine years. Her dedication to duty and the quality of her work has never been questioned. She has worked on many reputable programmes and a Senior Production Assistant's report on her performance was so exceptional that it was placed on her personal file. The worker should be reassigned to her previous position in the Sports Department, as to do otherwise would cast doubts on her professional integrity.
4. 1. The Rights Commissioner acknowledged the Authority's right to allocate its staff as Management deems fit. Most importantly, he acknowledged that the transfer was carried out in a fair and reasonable manner. Every aspect of the transfer was openly debated between the worker and the Section Head PAs, Group Head TV Sport, Senior Programme Management and the Director of Personnel.
2. The worker's reassignment to the Features Department cannot be interpreted as victimisation or as disciplinary action. Management is responsible for allocating resources to most effectively meet production demands. The worker is regarded as a valued and experienced member of the Production Assistant staff whose abilities and experience should prove highly valuable in other programme production areas.
The Court is satisfied that RTE believes the appellant to be a valuable employee who has given, and continues to give, excellent service to the organisation.
However, the Court, having considered the submissions from the parties, has concluded that the Rights Commissioner's findings were not unreasonable and his recommendation is in accordance with the conditions of employment for the job.
The Court, accordingly, upholds the recommendation and rejects the appeal.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd October, 1996______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.