INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
MIDWEST SECURITY SERVICES LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY MANAGEMENT SUPPORT SERVICES (IRL) LIMITED)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioners Recommendation IR1777/00/MR.
2. The dispute concerns a Company decision to transfer the worker from his location at Golden Vale, Charleville, Co. Cork to another assignment in Limerick City.
The worker commenced employment as a security officer on the 1st of October, 1999. The Company claims that in May, 2000, it discovered that the worker was leaving his position early (his hours of work were 19.30 - 7.30). Following a meeting between the parties, it was decided to transfer the worker to a site in Limerick where he could be supervised. The worker wished to stay at Charleville as it was closer to his home. He refused to move and has been on unpaid suspension since the 9th of May, 2000.
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner, whose findings and recommendation were as follows:
"Based on the evidence before me, I have concluded that management had little choice but to remove the worker from the site in Charleville and that they acted reasonably when dealing with the issue. However, the "stand-off" situation which has now arisen is clearly in nobody's interests and needs to be resolved.
Accordingly, if the worker persists in refusing to move to a site in or near Limerick City, and if the Company continues to have no other site in the Charleville area, it seems to me that the best way of resolving this dispute would be for the parties to meet at an early date in 2001 and seek to negotiate an agreed termination of the worker's
contract. Such an agreement would include a small lump sum in recognition of the part played by the Company in causing this dispute, in particular the lack of written documentation supplied to the worker.
In the circumstances, I recommend as above."
(The worker was named in the above recommendation)
The Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 15th of January, 2001 in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 28th of March, 2001, in Limerick.
3. 1. The worker refused the transfer because he had received an undertaking from the operations manager that his employment would be "site specific" to Golden Vale, due to its proximity to his home.
2. The worker left the job early because he was ill. There was another guard on duty to cover for him.
3. The worker received no contract or terms and conditions of employment. He made it clear from the outset that he could not take up employment in Limerick due to the distance from his home.
4. 1. The Company was left with no choice but to remove the worker from the Golden Vale site. His actions had put the client's premises and contract at risk. The Company would have been within its rights to dismiss the worker but decided to give him another chance.
2. It is well known within the security business that no security officer is assigned permanently to any site. Flexibility is essential in the industry. The worker was not given a guarantee that he could work exclusively at the Golden Vale site.
Having considered the submissions of the parties to this dispute, the Court accepts that the agreement between the parties allows for the transfer of employees between sites. In the absence of any independent evidence to support the Union's claim that the worker concerned had a private arrangement, the Court must hold that the Company acted within its rights in transferring the worker.
For this reason, together with those referred to by the Rights Commissioner in his conclusions, the Court upholds the Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner and the appeal is disallowed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th April, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.