INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
GALWAY VOLUNTARY SOCIAL SERVICES
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation 986/97.
2. The worker concerned commenced employment as a relief worker with Galway Voluntary Social Services on the 26th of March, 1993. In 1996, she was offered a permanent contract to work on policy, procedure and on a Life Skills Programme. She accepted a one year fixed contract working twenty-four hours per week.
In May, 1997, she was advised that her contract would be broken for a one month period. In August, 1997, she was offered a contract for a five month period working twenty hours per week, solely on policy and procedure which she refused. She was then offered a contract for a six month period working twenty-four hours per week which she again refused.
The Union believes that allegations made against the worker were the reason for the change in the contract offered. The Employer rejects this stating that the changes were based on work requirements.
The issue was not resolved at local level and was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation. His recommendation issued on the 17th of February, 1998, as follows:-
"I therefore, recommend that:
(a) Galway Voluntary Social Services Limited should pay the worker a once-off lump sum of £500;
(b) the parties should meet at an early date to discuss what work can be offered to the worker with the aim of securing in the very near future a one year contract for the worker doing the work that requires to be done, with the number of hours to be decided by the work requirement and not by the number of hours worked in the past."
(The worker was named in the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation.)
The Employer appealed the Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal on the 1st of December, 1999, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The worker had an excellent work record.
2. The Union believes that the worker's contract had been changed from the original contract i.e. (an offer of a contract for six months working on policy and procedure only) due to the fact that a series of allegations were made against her.
3. The Life Skills Programme was not suspended in May, 1997.
4. The Employer should compensate the worker for failing to implement the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation and for the stress caused and the financial and personal loss suffered.
4. 1. The contract was for a fixed one year period which expired on the 13th of June, 1997. Changes in the contract were based on work requirements and had nothing to do with any allegations made against the worker.
2. The Life Skills Programme which the worker was involved in was suspended in April, 1997.
3. The work which remained was the drafting of a policy and procedure manual. It was more appropriate for the Employer to offer the worker a contract for six months, working twenty-four hours per week, than a contract for one year at twelve hours per week to work on this manual.
4. The Employer has acted in a fair and reasonable manner in relation to the worker's employment.
It is noted that in earlier discussions between the parties it was agreed that the Employer should pay the sum of £1,000 in substitution for the terms recommended by the Rights Commissioner. This agreement was not completed because of disagreement on the range of issues in respect of which it was to be in full and final settlement.
It is the decision of the Court that compensation in the amount agreed (£1,000), should be paid to the claimant, in full and final settlement of all issues which specifically formed the subject matter of the dispute investigated by the Rights Commissioner.
The Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner is varied accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
22nd December, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.