INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation No. 940/97
2. The dispute concerns a claim by the Union, on behalf of one worker, a signal-man in Tralee, that he lost 7½ hours' pay per week arising from changes the Company made to his roster, and that he was the only signal-man on the Mallow/Tralee line to suffer loss as a result of changes made at the time. The claim was rejected by the Company on the grounds that it had been Company policy for a number of years not to compensate for losses incurred if such losses arose as a result of the Company's losing business (in this case, An Post "mails") or due to changes in the Company's operating timetable. The dispute was the subject of investigation by the Rights Commissioner who found that, while the worker may well have suffered a loss of earnings, the changes in his roster derived from the Company's having lost a significant volume of business. Accordingly, he recommended that the Union and the worker accept that no compensation be paid in this case. The Union appealed the Rights Commissioner's recommendation to the Labour Court, on the 1st of May, 1998, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court carried out its investigation, in Tralee, on the 10th August, 1998. Following the hearing, the Court wrote to the parties on the 25th August, 1998, requesting further information including copies of any relevant agreements. The Company replied on the 15th of September, 1998 and the Union on the 5th November, 1998.
1. The Company has in place a long-established formula of paying 2½ times the annual loss, for loss of earnings. The Company should apply this compensation in this case.
2. The Union does not accept that the change in rosters resulted solely from the loss of rail contracts. The Company simply became opportunistic and decided to cut the worker's earnings.
3. There is a growing disillusionment with the manner the Company has acted in its dealings with the worker. While the Union accepts that the Company lost An Post business, it is unacceptable that the only worker who has lost earnings is the signal-man at the end of the Mallow/Tralee line.
1. The worker's claim for loss in earnings followed a change in roster arising from the loss of An Post mail business to the Company. The change in roster was introduced in line with timetable changes in May, 1995.
2. The Company does not pay compensation for losses in earnings as a result of reduction in rosters following loss of business or normal timetable changes.
3. The worker did not suffer any actual loss of earnings as a result of the changes in 1995, but rather increased his earnings due to fortuitous overtime.
The additional information supplied following the hearing clearly indicates that it has been the Company's consistent practice not to concede claims for compensation for loss of earnings arising from revised attendance patterns caused by loss in business or timetable changes.
In these circumstance the Rights Commissioner is correct in his conclusion that, having regard to the clear precedents, he had no option but to reject the claim.
The appeal is disallowed and the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner affirmed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th December, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.