INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
AVONMORE WATERFORD GROUP
- AND -
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation 743/98MR.
2. The Company (now Glanbia plc) which evolved as a result of the merger between Waterford Foods plc and Avonmore Foods plc, in 1997, has its head office in Kilkenny. It is engaged in a number of activities in the dairy, agri-business and meat sectors and employs a workforce of 4,400 in the Republic of Ireland.
The dispute concerns one worker who was employed by the Company as a canteen assistant at its Dungarvan plant from the 23rd of July, 1979 until the 1st of February, 1985 at which time she availed herself of a voluntary redundancy package. From the time of her redundancy she was 1st relief to the remaining 3 canteen staff, until 1994, from which time she was 2nd relief. The Union is seeking the application of the Company's agreed redundancy package to the worker following the recent closure of the Dungarvan plant, on the grounds that she was on the Company's books and was available for work over the years. The Union added that while she had not been called often in recent times she did, however, remain an employee of the Company.
The Company rejected the Union's claim on the grounds that the worker had become, by her own choice, "very casual" and that she had worked a total of only 36 days from 1991 to 1994 and none since.
The dispute was investigated by a Rights Commissioner who found the Company's arguments to be reasonable. He recommended that the claim should fail.
The Union appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation on the 5th of March, 1999, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal, in Waterford, on the 23rd of September, 1999.
3. 1. The worker was unquestionably on the Company's books at the time of the closure of the Dungarvan plant and was covered by the agreement in respect of the closure of the plant on the 31st of October, 1998, and those terms should be applied to her.
2. The worker was asked by the Company to move to 2nd relief in 1994. The 2nd relief gets only work refused by the 1st relief and while the worker wasn't, therefore, required by the Company, she did remain on the Company's books.
4. 1. The Union claim is not justified as the closure package only applied to those in employment with the Company at the time and the claimant has not worked for the Company since 1994.
2. The claimant has worked for 2 separate employers between 1991 and 1994 and one exclusively thereafter.
3. The claimant herself asked to be relieved of her No. 1 relief position to very casual No. 2 which she never in fact worked after 1994. She had a vested interest in reverting the 2nd relief in 1994 as it allowed her more time to carry out her duties with her then new employer.
4. The claimant has already once received redundancy from the Company.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions, upholds the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation on the basis that the claimant provided no evidence that she objected to being moved from 1st Relief and she had not worked for the Company for 4 years.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th October, 1999.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.