INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
PICKERINGS LIFTS LIMITED
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation RC763/97 concerning dispute over the payment of retrospection to a worker.
2. In July, 1996 the worker concerned completed his statutory 4 years apprenticeship with the Company. At that time he was in receipt of a rate of pay equivalent to 80% of the first point of the craft worker scale for the industry.
The Union sought the application of the appropriate rate for lift engineer on behalf of the worker. The Company rejected the claim on the basis that the worker had not passed the exams set by the National Association of Lift Makers (NALM).
The appropriate rate of pay was subsequently paid to the worker with effect from March, 1997. The Union sought that the worker be paid retrospection to March, 1996. The Company failed to respond to the Union's claim and the matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. The Rights Commissioner's findings and Recommendation are as follows:-
"I have studied the correspondence and the Agreement supplied to me. The Company representative states that he believed that he has no case to answer, but he doesn't say why! It seems to me that he accepts the thrust of the Union argument but chooses to introduce the correct rate of pay at an arbitrary date in March. I believe that the Union has shown good cause for the worker to be paid from July 1996.
I am convinced that the Company representative was given every opportunity to avail of the normal industrial relations dispute resolution process but he chose to ignore it.
I recommend that the Company (Pickering Lifts Ltd) offers and the Union accepts that the worker is paid the appropriate retrospection in settlement of this dispute".
The worker was named in the Recommendation.
The Union appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation to the Labour Court on the 24th of November, 1997 under Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal on the 20th of January, 1997. The Company was not represented at the Court hearing.
3. 1. The statutory body for the regulating and training of apprentices is Fás. The NALM is not a recognised training body in the 26 counties and its certification is not part of the Fás apprenticeship curriculum. Lift engineers wishing to carry out courses in NALM certification do so voluntarily or at the expense of their employer.
2. It is normal procedure that the time served apprentice, having completed his apprenticeship progresses to the first point of the craft rate. In the circumstances the Union is seeking the payment of the appropriate rate for the period July, 1996 to March, 1997.
The Employer having lodged the appeal, did not attend the hearing or make a submission.
The Court having considered the written and oral submissions of the Union finds no reason to alter the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation. The Court therefore rejects the appeal and upholds the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation.
The Court is disturbed by the abuse of its resources by the Employer in this instance having chosen not to appear at the Rights Commissioner's hearing, the Company nevertheless appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation then failed to appear at a full hearing of the Labour Court and failed to produce a written submission.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th January, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.