INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Claim by the Union, on behalf of 3 workers, for compensation in relation to the filling of Standby Master Model Improver posts.
2. The Company produces costume jewellery and cosmetic soap, and employs over 400 workers. The Union's claim relates to the manner and procedure used by the Company in filling a number of vacancies as Standby Master Model Improvers (SMMI). The main criteria in 1995 for filling any new vacant SMMI posts were on the basis of seniority. In May, 1995, the Company departed from this practice and decided to move to a selection process based on merit and aptitude. The Union objected to the process and the issue was referred to arbitration in February, 1996. The agreement reached provided for one of the four appointments to be made on seniority with all other appointments being made on the basis of tested suitability. The Union states that the three workers concerned applied for the position and while their applications were accepted, they were left in abeyance for a number of months. One worker was successful in her application. The other two were not.
The Union claimed that the workers were unfairly treated and sought compensation on their behalf. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 25th June, 1996. Agreement was not possible and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 6th December, 1996. A Court hearing was held in Tullamore on the 22nd April, 1997.
3. 1. The Company was clearly aware that it was acting in breach of agreement when the vacancy for SMMI was posted. The workers were not told as to why their applications
were not being processed within the normal 30 days. Even when meetings took place no clarification was forthcoming from Management on the workers' position.
2. The workers experienced deep frustration at the way the Company treated them both at the point of applying for the vacancy and with their subsequent treatment. They are claiming £5,000 each in the form of redress.
4. 1. The Company cannot accept that it is liable to a claim for compensation, for any delay caused in the appointments of SMMI's from many disappointed candidates.
2. The Company, throughout, has acted in good faith at all times towards both the initial candidates and the negotiating committee of the Union who lodged a formal grievance regarding the procedures.
3. The Union accepted that the delay in appointment was agreed, pending the ultimate referral of the issue to a Rights Commissioner for investigation as provided for in the Company's grievance procedure.
4. The Union accepted the outcome of this investigation and the Company implemented the findings with no objection from the Union, approximately one year ago.
The Court accepts that the Company was in breach of custom and practice for filling posts in the area in question.
However, having considered the submissions both written and oral the Court has concluded that the Independent Mediators' proposals for resolving this dispute are fair and have been accepted by both sides.
In the circumstances as outlined the Court finds no grounds on which it could recommend concession of the Union's claim.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
29th April, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.