INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
NORTH WESTERN HEALTH BOARD
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR5326/01/TB.
2. The worker is employed as a cook in St. Patrick's Hospital, Carrick-on-Shannon, on behalf of the Board. The Union's case is that the worker was placed on the incorrect rate of pay from August 1975 until 2001. She did not become aware of the discrepancy until the conclusion of the "Cooks' Expert Report" which was completed in 2000. The Board's view is that the worker reverted to the post of Assistant Cook in July/August 1975 when another worker took up the position of Cook in the Hospital, and that she has been on the correct rate of pay since.
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner and his recommendation was as follows:-
The claimant is now graded as a Cook following the report of the expert group without any change in her working situation. This leads me to believe that her Assistant Cook status was probably incorrect over the years. I recommend that she be paid €5,000 in compensation for the error.
Both parties appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th of November, 2002, in Sligo.
3. 1. The worker was paid at the wrong grade from 1975 to 2001 i.e. the top of grade 1 instead of grade 2. The differential was small and, with weekend overtime payments, the incorrect rate of pay was not noticeable to the worker.
2. At a meeting in February, 2002, the Board made an offer of €10,158 to the worker which she accepted at the time. However, the Board later advised that the offer had not been cleared by senior management.
4. 1. The Rights Commissioner was incorrect to use the report on the Cooks' Expert Group as the basis for his conclusion.
2. The worker was appointed as Cook/Chef grade 1 as a result of the above report and not because of her claim that she was incorrectly paid over the period 1975 to 2000.
3. The worker reverted to the grade of Assistant Cook in 1975 when another employee took up duties as Cook Grade 1. In 1977/1978 the worker signed letters as "Assistant Cook".
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties, supports the Rights Commissioners findings in this case.
However, the Court is not satisfied that the compensation amount recommended significantly reflects the loss incurred. The Court therefore, recommends that the claimant be paid €12,000 in compensation.
The Rights Commissioner's Recommendation is to be amended accordingly.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
13th December, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.