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 IR1248/00/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 was re-employed as a part-time sales assistant from August, 1999, having previously worked part-time from August 1995 to July 1997. The worker's contracted hours were 10.5 per week but she had worked an average of 26.5 hours per week leading up to the closure of the Supermarket.
The Union is claiming that, following the closure of the Supermarket, the worker's hours were cut to 10.5 per week, and is claiming compensation of £6,202.13.
The case was referred to a Rights Commissioner and his recommendation is as follows:
"Irecommend 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 worker had reached agreement with the Company to work 26.5 hours per week in a flexible pattern. Following the closure of the Supermarket, her hours were cut to 10.5 per week. There was a clear loss of earnings.
2. The worker applied for compensation on a number of occasions but was given no satisfactory explanation as to why it was not paid.
3. The Company did not make the worker a definite full-time job offer as it claims. The worker has made it clear that she is available to work in the previous flexible pattern.
4. 1. The worker was offered full-time hours (a permanent position) but she declined the offer.
2. It was clear that the worker was seeking compensation, not additional hours. The Company did not pay compensation as the worker made no effort to minimise her loss.
3. Seven weeks after the closure of the Supermarket, the worker was asked to work additional hours but she refused to work them, and has continued to do so.
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. The Court notes that the worker did work in the food department, and any reduction in her hours resulting from that closure would have entitled her to compensation under the agreement.
While there is some dispute as to whether or not the claimant was offered full-time hours following the closure of the food department, her circumstances at that time were such that she could not reasonably have been expected to accept full-time work. It is clear, however, that a firm offer was made at conciliation in November 1999, to provide the claimant with the same hours as she had worked in the food department. The claimant declined this offer, and could not reasonably expect to receive the full amount of compensation provided for in the agreement.
In all the circumstances of this case, the Court believes that the amount of compensation recommended by the Rights Commissioner should be increased to £2,500.
The recommendation of the Rights Commissioner 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.