INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
CAVAN COUNTY COUNCIL
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation No. IR4079/01/TB.
2. The appeal concerns a worker who commenced employment with the Council in 1972. He was employed as a driver of Council trucks on the Driver "B" scale of pay for a number of weeks each year from 1989 to 1998. In 1998, he was re-assigned to crew cab driving on the lower Driver "A" rate of pay. The Union claimed that the worker was unfairly treated and referred the issue to a Rights Commissioner for investigation. On the 3rd of July, 2001, the Rights Commissioner issued his recommendation as follows:-
" It is the responsibility of the Council to make decisions concerning safety. However, the fact that they gave no explanation to the worker as to the reasons for the change, left him in an uncertain situation.
The Council should apologise to the worker for this failure of communication and pay him a sum of £500 (634.87 Euro) in compensation."
On the 9th of August 2001, the Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court. The Court heard the appeal in Cavan on the 28th of November, 2001.
3. 1. The change in the worker's driver status has resulted in a financial loss to him on an on going basis of £7.84 (9.95 Euro) per week at current rates. As he will reach retirement age in two years the reduction in his basic rate will impact on his superannuation benefits.
2. The Council treated the worker unfairly in not providing the worker with explanations /reasons for the change in driving duties, despite numerous requests from
the worker for such information.
3. During the period of the worker's employment, he has carried out his duties in a diligent and competent manner.
4. The Union appealed the Right's Commissioner's recommendation because the loss incurred by the worker due to the Council's decision until his retirement date
in 2001 is £1,400 (1777.63 Euro). Furthermore his reduced rate of pay would have implications relating to the calculation of his superannuation entitlements (lump sum and pension rate).
4. 1. During 1998, concerns were expressed to the Council's machinery supervisor regarding the claimant's ability to carry out his driving duties in a safe and proper manner (details supplied to the Court).
2. In the interests of safety, it was decided to reassign the claimant to the driving of a crew cab which is a smaller and easier vehicle to manoeuvre.
3. The Council has advised the claimant that it is agreeable to an independent assessment of his driving being undertaken, if this is satisfactory, the Council could offer the claimant the opportunity of re-engagement as temporary "Driver B".
The Court has taken into consideration the written and oral submissions of the parties and can see no grounds for amending the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner, therefore, that decision is upheld by this Court.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th December, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.