INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
REIGN OF FIRE PRODUCTIONS
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY BUILDING AND ALLIED TRADES' UNION)
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Alleged unfair selection for lay-off.
2. The Company was specifically set up to produce the feature film "Reign of Fire". The worker concerned was one of a number of construction workers hired by the Company. He was employed on the 20th of December, 2000, and claims that he was unfairly dismissed on the 27th of April, 2001. Prior to any lay-offs on the film, the parties agreed a formula for when notice was to be given - 50% was to be 'last in, first out' and 50% would be the choice of the Company. The formula was voted on and agreed (68 in favour, 3 against and 3 abstentions).
All of the workers were given a number on joining the production. The worker was number 13, and he believed that his employment was based on his position on the list. On the 19th of April, 2001, a group of 20 workers was given notice to finish on the 27th of April. The worker concerned was part of this group. He was unhappy with the decision and informed management on the 25th of April that he would be reporting for work on the 27th. A Union official asked management why the worker had been selected and he was given 2 reasons - time keeping and refusing to work in bad weather.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relation Commissions and a conciliation conference took place on the 5th of June, 2001. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 14th of June, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 30th of August, 2001.
3. 1. The worker discussed his conditions of employment with a representative of the Company before he commenced employment and was under the impression that he would be retained.
2. He understood that his employment was based on his position on the list (13). A number of employees with less service were not among the first 20 chosen.
3. The worker denies that he had any problems on the production as the Company has implied.
4. 1. The Company used the agreed criteria in selecting the worker concerned for lay off. The system of 50:50 had been voted on and accepted by the workers/Union.
2. The Company was not obliged to explain its selection for lay off. It only did so as a favour when asked by a Union official.
3. There was no special arrangement made with the worker to retain him. The number given to each worker was for payment purposes.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions made by both sides, is satisfied that the employer adhered to the agreed procedures for selection in case of lay off.
The Court, therefore, rejects the Union's claim in this case.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
13th September, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.