INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- 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. 1110/97.
2. The employee concerned in this dispute has been employed by the Company since June, 1994, and was promoted to the position of team leader in the food production area in January, 1997. On the 7th of October, 1997, the employee was interviewed by Management concerning a number of issues which related to her shift on the 3rd of October. She was then dismissed from the company. Following representations from the Union the dismissal was amended to suspension on full pay pending an appeal which was heard on the 15th of October, 1997. The worker was then issued with a final written warning and was demoted by two grades to the position of catering assistant.
The Union referred the issue to a Rights Commissioner for investigation. His recommendation issued on the 12th of January, 1998, as follows:-
"I recommend that (the worker) returns to work immediately to the position of lead hand with team leader rate of pay. Her re-appointment to team lead should be reviewed by the Company by the end of June, dependent on her performance and appropriate training. I recommend that the Company reduced the final written warning to a written warning which will expire on the 19th of October, 1998. The absence of (the worker) from 21st of October to date is to be treated as agreed absence without pay. I recommend that these measures are accepted by both sides in resolution of this dispute."
(The worker was named in the Rights Commissioner's recommendation.)
The Company appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 26th of January, 1998, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal on the 15th of April, 1998, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The worker has an excellent record with the Company since 1994. She has never received warnings of any kind.
2. The worker complied with all procedures in her position as team leader. She provided reasonable explanations to the queries raised by Management on the 7th of October, 1997.
3. The disciplinary action taken by the Company is unfair and unjust. The worker did not receive adequate training in her position in business class and had worked in this section for only two weeks. Both the Union and the employee have accepted the Rights Commissioner's recommendation.
4. 1. The Company relies on the competence and commitment of all of its employees to produce meals on time to a consistently high standard. If flights had been delayed as a result of the problems on the 3rd of October the Company could have been liable to pay compensation. It could also have had a negative effect on the Company's ability to win and retain contracts.
2. The worker has had a number of difficulties with work practices which have been discussed by herself and her managers. The worker has not demonstrated to the Company that her attitude and approach to her job is such that incidents such as those which occurred on the 3rd of October would not occur again.
3. The Company is not prepared to appoint the worker to the position of lead hand with the team leader rate of pay. The final written warning should also stand. If the worker returns to work she will have the opportunity to demonstrate her suitability for promotion from the position of catering assistant and can apply herself to the task of regaining her position of team leader.
Having considered the submissions made by the parties the Court does not find any basis on which it should interfere with the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner.
The recommendation is, therefore, upheld and the appeal dismissed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
1st May, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.