INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY MANDATE)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioners Recommendation IR4703/01/TB.
2. The worker is employed at the Company's Blanchardstown store since August, 1996, as a sales assistant. In 1998, the worker was appointed to the meat department. In March, 2001, the worker was informed that she was no longer required in that department as a decision was taken to discontinue a range of poultry products. The Union claims that it should have been on a last in, first out basis. The worker wants to retain her position in the meat department.
The Union claims that the worker was protected by a Company/Union agreement in relation to pre and post December, 1996, employees and should not have been moved.
Management rejected the Union's claim and stated that a decision was taken to discontinue a range of poultry products and sought to transfer the worker to another area of the store while maintaining her position as a sales assistant.
The dispute was the subject of a Rights Commissioner's hearing which took place on the 24th of August, 2001. The following was the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation:-
"I accept that the 1999 agreement distinguishes between pre and post December 1996 employees. It is not clear, however, the distinctions is as great or as automatic as is claimed by the Union.
The Company seems to have reasonable business reasons for moving the worker and as she is not suffering any loss of pay or change in hours, I recommend that she should accept the move."
The Union appealed the Recommendation to the Labour Court on the 23rd of October, 2001, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 23rd of January, 2002.
3. 1. In 1998, a position was advertised for a sales assistant in the meat department. The worker applied for and was successful in securing this position. The Union believe that this constitutes a contract of employment.
2. The Union does not accept that there was a fair selection criteria as the worker had longer service than other staff in that department.
3. The worker was protected by terms contained within her collective agreement which makes a distinction between staff employed pre December 1996 and staff employed post December, 1996.
4. The worker is seeking compensation for the trauma and stress she has suffered as she felt that she was victimised.
4. 1. All remaining staff in the butchery department are skilled butchers who have completed or are in process of completing a four year apprenticeship and
are responsible for all skilled work in that department.
2. The staff in the meat department made it clear that they would strongly object to the worker doing work which was proper to skilled butchery staff.
3. Management does not accept that the 1999 agreement changed the established flexibility in Tesco and the industry where sales assistants can move between departments doing sales assistants duties.
4. Management dealt with the worker's situation reasonably, sensitively and in keeping with established practice and agreements.
Having considered all aspects of this appeal, the Court can see no reason to change the Rights Commissioner's recommendation. Therefore, the appeal fails and the Rights Commissioner's recommendation is upheld.
The Court so decides
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.