INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Transfer of an employee contrary to LCR14932.
2. The dispute before the Court involves a claim by the Unions that the Company is in breach of Labour Court Recommendation LCR14932.
It is claimed that one of its members was moved by management from her clerical duties in the Marketing and Customer Service Department, which she held from 1985 to 1997, into the telephone roster area. The Unions' claim that this is in breach of LCR14932 with regard to this type of lateral movement.
The Company argued that LCR14932 was only relevant where vacancies had to be filled. Management decided to reorganise certain work within the clerical area but stated that there was no question of filling a vacancy. It claims that the Unions' approach was impinging on its right to improve the efficiency of the Company.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 18th February, 1997 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 27th February, 1997.
3. 1. A new clerical grade was introduced in 1991 as a result of local agreement. It allowed for the introduction of new staff on a revised clerical grade rate. However, the existing clerical staff were all red-circled, and their rate and grade were protected under this new arrangement.
2. The Company has adopted a cavalier attitude in their right to change staff from one job to another.
3. The Unions have no objection to Management making staff changes provided that they are fair, and reasonable, and that it can substantiate reasons for change.
4. The Unions want the worker restored to her original post.
4. 1. The Company has the right to request clerical staff to carry out a range of clerical duties as the need arises.
2. The Company requested an employee to carry out certain clerical duties which are in line with those set down in the Company/Union Agreement and which are part of the worker's terms and conditions of employment.
3. The worker is employed in a clerical capacity. Her duties involve replying to correspondence from the public and dealing with telephone calls during busy periods. She is also rostered to perform telephone related duties on a one week in seven basis.
4. There has been no redeployment, lateral movement or vacancy occurring in this instance. The employee has simply being requested to perform different clerical duties within the same department, which are part of her contract of employment.
The Court finds it difficult to understand how an issue such as this could have brought the Company to the brink of strike. While it was stated by management that the intention was to give someone the opportunity for development it would appear that for whatever reason this caused major concern within the staff.
While it is essential that management have the flexibility necessary to run the business, it would appear that in this case there has been a failure of proper communications.
The Court therefore recommends that the Employee in question be returned to her job, pending discussions between the parties on the proposed change of duties and the longer term consequences of such changes.
Following these discussions and assurances it should be possible to reach agreement to ensure that suitable flexibility is achieved.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
6th March, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.