INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
WEXFORD ORGANISATION FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT (W.O.R.D.)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Non-renewal of contract for the Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.).
2. The Company was set up in 1991 with the help of E.U. funding to implement the European Leader Programme for the Wexford area. The Leader 1 programme operated from January, 1992 to December, 1994.
The current programme - Leader II is scheduled to operate from 1995 to 31st December, 1999 under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture and Food which has responsibility nationally for the implementation of the programme. The Leader programme was established to help people in the rural areas to find innovative ways to develop their areas. There are thirty-four Leader programmes in operation around the country.
The dispute concerns a claim by the Union that the Chief Executive Officer's contract of employment was not renewed by the Company when it expired on the 31st May, 1998.
The Company rejects the Union's claim and states that the C.E.O.'s contract was for a fixed term from the 29th May, 1995 to 31st May, 1998.
The Union sought to have the dispute referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation but the Company was not amenable to such an investigation. The Union referred the dispute to the Labour Court under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. The Court investigated the dispute on the 24th June, 1998.
3. 1. The C.E.O. was led to believe that when his contract of employment expired on the 31st May, 1998 that it would be extended to the 31st December, 1999.
2. The contract between the Company and the Department of Agriculture and Food budgeted for all staff including the C.E.O. for the entire project, 1995-1999.
3. The Wexford project was one of the best in the country under the leadership of the C.E.O.
4. There were no complaints concerning the C.E.O.'s work performance. He should have been retained in his post to the end of the project as has been the case in the other 33 Leader Companies.
4. 1. The worker concerned signed a fixed term contract of employment from the 29th May, 1995 to the 31st May, 1998. The Company has honoured this contract.
2. The Company is under no obligation to offer the complainant an extension of his contract.
3. The financial position of the Company is more precarious now than it was in 1995.
4. The Company has moved to a new phase of its programme where the post of C.E.O. is no longer required.
Having reviewed the submissions of the parties the Court has come to the conclusion that the manner in which the Employer came to the decision not to extend the Claimant's contract of employment was unfair.
The Court does not believe that a normal working relationship could be re-established between the Claimant and his former employer and for that reason reinstatement to his former position would not be viable.
Having regard to all the circumstances of this case the Court recommends that the Claimant be paid compensation in an amount equal to five months pay in full and final settlement of all claims against the Employer.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th June, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.