INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Appeal by the Union against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation RC746/97.
2. The worker has been employed by Galway Corporation for a number of years as a general operative. He was subsequently moved to street cleaning duties where he operated a mechanical sweeper.
The worker was suspended without pay for one week in July, 1997 because management were dissatisfied with his work performance.
The Corporation claims that there was a long series of warnings, both informal and formal, which management had given the worker in the previous twelve months. These warnings related to both his work performance and his attitude.
The Union claims that the worker has been unfairly treated by management insofar as no account was taken of the difficulty that the worker had to contend with in operating the machine. He was operating a new mechanical sweeper which had limited suction capacity.
Management claims that the machine was working perfectly but that the worker was not sweeping the streets in the manner in which he was instructed.
The Union referred the dispute to a Rights Commissioner. The Rights Commissioner investigated the dispute on the 22nd October, 1997 and in his recommendation RC/746/97 recommended that:-
Galway Corporation clearly have a duty to ensure that streets in their area of responsibility are kept as clean and as free of litter as possible.
In the circumstances, and based on the evidence before me, I have concluded that the Corporation has acted reasonably in dealing with the worker over the past twelve months and I see no reason to amend the disciplinary action imposed on him. I would, however, suggest to the Corporation that they make greater efforts to ensure that all employees, including the worker, are treated in an even-handed manner by management at all levels within the Corporation.
In the circumstances, I therefore recommend that the Union's appeal on behalf of the worker fails.
(The worker was named in the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation).
The Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 18th of December, 1997. The Court heard the appeal on the 5th of March, 1998 under Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969.
3. 1. Management had greater expectation for the capacity of the machine than was possible. Furthermore, the worker found it difficult to sweep alongside where cars had been parked.
2. It was not possible to operate the machine at the higher speed as expected by management. To do so would have resulted in much of the grit and compacted dirt on the road not being picked up.
3. The worker claims that he has been unfairly treated by management insofar as no account has been taken of the difficulties he had operating a machine which had limited suction capacity.
4. 1. The worker was suspended, not for one particular incident, but rather for a series of incidents and his failure to improve on his work performance.
2. The worker was given numerous written and verbal warnings concerning his work performance and his attitude to his work.
3. Management requires a high standard of performance from employees employed in the sanitary services section. The worker concerned has not attained this standard.
4. The worker's performance was reflecting badly on the Corporation and also on his work colleagues.
In the circumstances outlined the Court is satisfied that the Rights Commissioner's recommendation is reasonable in the circumstances and should be upheld.
The Court accordingly rejects the appeal and so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd March, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.