INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. (A) Union recognition, (B) Alleged unfair dismissal.
2. The Supermarket is located at Dublin Airport and currently employs 16 people. The dispute before the Court concerns (a) union recognition and (b) alleged unfair dismissal.
On the 9th of July, 1997 the Union wrote to the employer seeking a meeting to discuss a range of issues. The Company did not respond to the Union's request.
Alleged Unfair Dismissal
The worker concerned was employed as a part-time supervisor by the Company on the 21st of April 1997. She was dismissed on the 4th of July, 1997. She claims she was unfairly dismissed.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on the 23rd of April, 1998. As agreement was not reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 13th of August, 1998.
(A) Union Recognition
3. 1. A number of workers were recruited but were persuaded to leave the Union by the employer.
2. A number of workers have expressed an interest in joining the Union but are concerned at the employer's attitude to Union membership.
4. 1. The employer has no objection to any of his staff joining a Union.
2. The employer was not aware that any of his employees were members of a Union.
(B) Alleged unfair dismissal
5. 1. The worker was unfairly dismissed due to her Union involvement.
2. The worker was always available to work the hours initially agreed by the employer.
3. The worker has not been employed since her dismissal and has suffered a loss of £90 net pay per week. She is seeking compensation and re-instatement.
6. 1. The worker was employed on a probationary basis.
2. The worker was dismissed as her overall performance was unsatisfactory and she did not work the hours agreed under her conditions of employment.
3. The employer spoke to the worker regarding her performance.
Claim A - Union Recognition
The Court notes that at conciliation the Company agreed to recognise the Union if it had members in its employment now or in the future, and that this position was reiterated during the Court hearing, and it is accordingly noted. While the Union accepts that having employees in membership is a condition precedent to obtaining recognition it has not felt free up to now to disclose to the Company the identity of the two employees it claims to represent.
On being satisfied that the Union has a membership presence among its employees the Company should meet with the Union to agree an appropriate framework for recognition/representational rights in respect of those in membership.
Claim B - Dismissal of a worker
The Court notes that the employee had not received any written contract regarding her terms or conditions of employment, or her status. The Court is not satisfied with the reasons stated by the employer for the dismissal of the worker, and considers that the worker's Union activities were a factor. Since both parties indicated that reinstatement would present difficulties, the Court considered that the appropriate redress is compensation. It is clear too that the Company decided to terminate the workers employment without following its own disciplinary procedure or the type of procedures envisaged by theCode of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures(S.I. 177 of 1996) made under Section 42 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court therefore finds that the process of dismissal was unfair.
Having regard to all the circumstances of this case the Court is satisfied that a higher level of compensation is warranted than would normally be appropriate considering the workers length of service. On this basis the Court recommends that the worker be paid compensation in the amount of £2,500 in full and final settlement of all claims arising from her dismissal.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27th August, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.