INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY TRANSPORT SALARIED STAFFS' ASSOCIATION)
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation Ir745/99/Gf
2. The worker is seeking a position as an Executive Officer Grade 4 in the Company's Procurement Department in Inchicore, where he has been employed since 1970. The worker's present position is Senior Clerical Officer Class 1. In 1996, the Company advertised for Senior Buyers at Executive Grade 4 level in the Procurement Department. Twenty two candidates, including the worker concerned, applied for the positions and 4 were selected. The worker concerned was not successful. Following his application, the Union claims that a number of incidents took place, including the Materials Manager refusing to sign the worker's application form, and stating that he was unfamiliar with the worker. There were also allegations of bullying and incompetence made against the worker (a full list of the incidents was supplied to the Court.) The worker claims that he had been given a verbal commitment by management in relation to his chances of success in attaining one of the Senior Buyer positions. The Company maintains that the person who appeared to give the worker reassurances about the position was not authorised to do so. However, in a letter of the 20th of August, 1999, in view of the "mixed messages" sent to the worker, the Company offered the worker a position of Acting Executive Grade 3. The offer would involve a move from Inchicore to the North Wall. The Union has rejected the offer.
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner and his findings and recommendation are as follows:
"I have considered all of the evidence in this case very carefully and I can only come to the conclusion that the most appropriate course of action for the claimant to take is to accept what the Company are prepared to offer him. Taking the Company's assurances on face value, it would be the most sensible option.
I am recommending he do so, with the provision that a formal review of his position take place in 12 months and the offer of training and coaching be accepted by the claimant and monitored closely by his Union."
The Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 21st of February, 2000, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 19th of May, 2000.
3. 1. The worker was led to believe in 1997 that with the introduction of the new SAP system he would be upgraded to Executive Grade 4, with retrospection to 1996. The worker co-operated fully with the transition from the old to the new system, but the upgrading did not take place.
2. The transfer involved in the Company's offer, from Inchicore to the North Wall, would be a great inconvenience to the worker. The introduction of what is, in effect, a probationary period is not acceptable. The offer also incorporates formal reviews of the worker's performance, with the implication that the worker needs to be monitored.
3. The Company did not apologise to the worker in regard to the serious allegations made against him.
4. 1. The worker was considered, together with the other candidates, for the job in 1996. His application was processed in accordance with normal practice.
2. No valid indication or assurance could be given to any candidate prior to the interviews for the job in question. The letter of the 20th of August, 1999, was in response to earlier correspondence and discussions in relations to this case. The letter included an offer for potential advancement which the worker was unwilling
to accept at the time.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
The Company accepts that the claimant had been made a commitment by a person in a management position who did not have the authority to make such a commitment.
However, consideration of the Company's effort to resolve this dispute by offering an Acting Executive Grade 3 position, with a view to confirmation after a period of time, was influenced by other issues raised by the Company since the dispute arose.
While the Court is satisfied that the Rights Commissioner's recommendation is the best way forward, the Court strongly recommends that the Company meets with the claimant to confirm that it accepts that allegations in relation to the claimant have been withdrawn.
The Court upholds the Rights Commissioner's recommendation and rejects the appeal.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31st May, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.