INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation No. RC177/97.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union for an "acting up" allowance of £15.00 per day for one of its members. The claim covers the period 1992 - 1996.
The Company rejected the claim stating that the worker did not fill any extra duties which would warrant payment of the allowance. It also claims that payment of the allowance was an anomaly and that there was no justification for increasing its scope.
The Union claims that there were two separate sections operating in the Company, "Goods Inward" and "Goods Outward". It claims that the "lead-hand" in the Goods Inward section received the allowance whenever the Production Manager was absent. The worker concerned was employed in the Goods Inward section and deputised for the lead-hand when requested but received no allowance for this work.
As a result of reorganisation within the plant, both warehouses now operate as one. The worker concerned was appointed as lead-hand following the reorganisation and receives the appropriate allowance for filling in for the Warehouse Supervisor.
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation. The Rights Commissioner investigated the dispute on the 20th February, 1997 and recommended as follows:-
"I can see no possible grounds for concession of this claim in whole or in part. Whether the lead hand originally obtained the allowance on merit, or by default is to my mind immaterial. The worker may have had a grievance due to the circumstances but it does not follow that he is entitled to any payment. The Company may have acted unusually but that does not necessarily entitle him to any extra payment. This claim is tantamount to a ghost payment and I cannot see any reason why the Company should accept responsibility for a double payment".
The Union appealed the Recommendation to the Labour Court on the 27th March, 1997. The Court heard the appeal on the 20th June, 1997 under Section 13 (9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969.
3. 1. The duties, or the allowance pertaining for acting-up were never advertised, nor were they made known by the Company.
2. During the period 1989-1991 the worker was employed in the Goods Inward Department and deputised for the lead-hand on occasions, but received no allowance for this work.
3. When the worker changed to the Goods Outward section, his replacement received the acting-up allowance.
4. Following the reorganisation, when the warehouse manager left the Company, his duties were undertaken by the lead-hand and the appropriate allowance paid. In addition, when the lead-hand was absent the operator received the allowance.
4. 1. The Company rejects the "acting up" allowance claim on the basis that there were no changes made in the worker's duties or responsibilities.
2. The Company was unable to find extra duties for the worker to carry out to justify payment of the allowance.
3. The payment of the allowance was an anomaly and there was no justification for extending its scope.
4. Concession of the claim can only operate on a quid pro quo basis.
5. The Company has already paid the acting-up allowance when appropriate. It cannot be expected to pay the allowance on the double.
The Court having considered the written and oral submissions finds no grounds to change the Right Commissioner's Recommendation. The Court, therefore, upholds the Right Commissioner's Recommendation and rejects the appeal.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th June, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.