INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
1. Harassment of shop stewards.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns the alleged harassment by management of shop stewards in the discharge of their representation function. The Union argues that despite proposals drafted by the Labour Relations Commission and accepted by both parties the problem has not been eradicated.
The Corporation's position is that the parties have just agreed a new Procedural Agreement and that shop stewards have an important role pertaining to local collective bargaining and representing workers at grievance and disciplinary hearings.
Local level discussions failed to resolve the issue and the matter was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on 5th December, 1996. As agreement could not be reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on 28th March, 1997 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place in Limerick on the 21st May, 1997.
3. 1. The harassment of shop stewards is unacceptable to the Union. The shop stewards are not being afforded the necessary time and support required to carry out their representative function.
2. The Union is concerned that the issue of harassment of shop stewards has gone to conciliation on a number of occasions and despite complaints to the personnel section the issue has not been resolved.
3. The Union is committed to the Procedural Agreement and in the circumstances is seeking that the Court's Recommendation would include some type of wording in an effort to prevent harassment in the future.
4. 1. The objective of the Procedural Agreement is to assist in the promotion of good industrial relations. The procedures in this document which have been agreed with the trade unions involved, provide for the resolution of claims and grievances in a fair, reasonable and speedy manner.
2. Employees who are shop stewards have important duties pertaining to local collective bargaining and representing members at grievance and disciplinary hearings. As a general principle, the Corporation will facilitate the discharge of these duties by a shop steward during working hours.
3. The duties and responsibilities of employee representatives and the protection and facilities to be afforded them under the agreement are indicative of the important position and role of such representatives. The manner in which employee representatives discharge their duties and responsibilities significantly affects the quality of management/labour relations in the undertaking or establishment in which they work.
4. During negotiations both sides recognised that there had been industrial relations difficulties and that there was a need for change. In the circumstances both sides should now look to the future and concentrate efforts on making the new procedures work.
It is the view of the Court that the issues raised at the hearing would be best addressed within the framework of the new Procedural Agreement, under Section 5 dealing with Employee Representatives.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th June, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.