INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
ROCHES STORES (TALLAGHT)
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY MANDATE)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR1249/00/CW.
2. In May, 1999, the Company decided to close its Supermarket operation. As part of the re-organisation, some workers' hours were affected by the closure. It was agreed with the Union that any part-time staff who had worked additional hours continuously for a long period of time, and whose drop in hours was as a direct result of the closure, would be compensated on the basis of 1.5 times the annual value of the loss.
The worker concerned had been employed with the Company as a part-time sales assistant since 1990, and had then worked in the pram department since 1995. Her normal hours were 18.5 per week and she also covered for full-time assistants on week days, usually totalling 37 hours per week. The dispute concerns whether the worker qualified for compensation or not. The Union claims that the worker is now employed for only 18.5 hours per week, and is seeking compensation of £9,514.44. The Company's view is that the additional hours are still available for the worker but she has refused to work them.
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner and his recommendation is as follows:-
"I recommend that the Company offers and the worker accepts £750 in settlement of this dispute."
The Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 30th of August, 2000, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 22nd of November, 2000.
3. 1. The closure of the Supermarket had a traumatic effect on the staff in the Company.
2. An agreement was reached which provided for compensation for loss of earnings for all employees, irrespective of where they worked in the Supermarket.
3. Following the closure of the Supermarket, the hours of the worker concerned were cut from 32.5 to 18.5. She was twice offered compensation by her Personnel Manager which she accepted, but the Company subsequently reneged on same.
4. There is clearly a loss of earnings and the worker should be compensated in the same manner as other employees.
4. 1. The worker was told that the buy-out only applied to staff who were affected by the Supermarket closure. As the worker was employed in the pram department, she was not included in this offer.
2. It was pointed out to the worker that she was required to continue working her additional hours in the prams department but she refused to do so. These hours are still available for her to work.
3. It was clear that the worker wanted compensation and was not interested in continuing to work the additional hours.
There is an unfortunate difference of recollection between the claimant and Company management as to whether or not additional hours would continue to be available to the claimant in the aftermath of the closure of the food department. It appears clear that the claimant's position was not directly affected by this closure and did not come within the scope of the agreement reached on compensation. The Court, therefore, agrees with the findings of the Rights Commissioner on this point.
Having regard to all the circumstances of the case, the Court is of the view that the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation that the worker should be paid £750 in settlement of the dispute should be increased to £1,000.
The Rights Commissioner's recommendation is varied accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
8th December, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.