INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Sick Pay Scheme.
2. The Company has a number of chemist shops in Leitrim, Roscommon and Cavan.
The shop concerned is based in Cavan town and employs five full-time and three part-time staff. In April, 1998, the present owner took over the business.
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of five of its members for the continuation of a sick pay scheme which the Union claims was in existence prior to April, 1998. The Company states that a sick pay scheme was not in operation.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level. The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission held on the 2nd of March, 2000. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 17th of May, 2000.
3. 1. Prior to April, 1998, a sick pay scheme was in operation which entitled the workers to ten weeks' full pay on the production of a Doctor's Certificate.
2. Other chemist shops in Cavan town operate a sick pay scheme.
3. The Union is seeking the reintroduction of the sick pay scheme which its members enjoyed prior to the takeover.
4. 1. When the present owner took over the business in April, 1998, he was informed by the previous owner that the employees were not paid while on sick leave.
2. Sick pay schemes are very unusual in similar businesses throughout the country.
3. The Company is currently operating at a loss. Conceding the claim could have implications for the Company regarding absenteeism.
The legal obligations in relation to the Transfer of Undertakings Act are clear, and place a number of obligations on a new owner in relation to the employees of the Company being taken over.
However, in this case the Court is presented with conflicting evidence in relation to arrangements that had been applied by the previous owner in relation to sick pay.
Both sides claim to have spoken to the previous owner but have conflicting positions in relation to their conversations. In the absence of any confirmation that a sick pay scheme operated prior to the transfer, the Court cannot recommend concession of this claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd May, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.