INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
ROYAL DUBLIN HOTEL
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation 295/96.
2. The dispute concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of a worker that his conditions of employment had worsened as a result of returning to work following an industrial dispute at the Hotel. The worker concerned is employed as a kitchen porter. The Union claims that prior to the strike the worker, who is the Chief Shop Steward enjoyed a roster of four early and one late shift per week. Following settlement of the strike, the Union claims that the worker was rostered to work more late shifts than early shifts. The Union claims that this was in breach of the terms following settlement of the dispute which provided that no victimisation would occur following a resumption of normal working.
The Hotel rejects the claim of any victimisation against the worker. It claims that the rosters are drawn up so that no individual or group of employees is subjected to working more than a fair share of unsocial hours. If the worker concerned was to work less late shifts and more early shifts, then other kitchen staff would be disadvantaged. The hotel cannot accept this practice.
The Union referred the dispute to a Rights Commissioner. The Rights Commissioner investigated the dispute on the 10th July, 1997 and in his recommendation 295/96 recommended that:-
"The claimant has an entitlement to be treated no less favourably than other employees and a case that this was not the position has not been established. I must in the circumstances, find against the Union case.
Although not the issue before me, it did appear that the claimant, is unhappy in his current work environment. If he, his Union or employer feel it might be of assistance I would be prepared to reconvene to facilitate consideration of that aspect".
(The worker was named in the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation).
The Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 23rd July, 1997. The Court heard the appeal on the 15th September, 1997 under Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969.
3. 1. The system and allocation of work in the Kitchen Portering grade operates on the basis that the last casual worker entering the roster does so to supplement the permanent regular and part-time/casual staff on the kitchen roster.
2. The senior Kitchen Porters have a right to rostering on day schedules and a prior right to a 39 hour week.
3. The worker concerned moved from casual/regular part-time status to permanent status and on this basis was entitled to be rostered for day shifts.
4. The worker has been selected for unfair treatment in relation to rostering duties because he represents the Union as Chief Shop Steward.
5. The Hotel employed new staff who were subsequently allocated early rosters ahead of the worker which is contrary to custom and practice.
6. The Union is seeking the restoration of the worker's rostered duties which pertained prior to the industrial dispute in 1996.
4. 1. Management refutes the allegations that there was any victimisation of the worker.
2. Where a worker has a requirement for a specific evening off, every effort is made to facilitate that request.
3. All workers are treated equally in relation to allocating hours of work. Their length of service or membership of a Trade Union has no bearing on this policy.
4. If rosters were drawn up to give long-serving staff less unsocial hours of work, newly recruited staff would be disadvantaged.
5. There is no ownership by one individual of any specific roster. It is the policy of management that all work is shared equally among the staff.
Having examined the evidence submitted the Court has concluded that the Rights Commissioner's recommendation was soundly based and should be upheld.
The Court accordingly rejects the appeal and so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st September, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.