INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
ICTU GROUP OF UNIONS
AUTOMOBILE GENERAL ENGINEERING AND MECHANICAL OPERATIVE (AGEMO)
AMALGAMATED ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Inconvenience allowance.
2. The issue in dispute concerns a claim for compensation on behalf of 41 employees in the Motive Power Shop in Inchicore for their cooperation during the replacement of the shop roof between May and December, 2001.
The initial claim was for the payment of €25,394.76 (£20,000) to be divided equally among 36 workers. A further 5 employees were then included and the claim was revised to €38,092.14 (£30,000), which amounts to approximately €930 per person.
The claim was the subject of local discussions and of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. Agreement was not reached and the issue was referred to the Labour Court on the 25th of March, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Labour Court investigated the dispute on the 18th of June, 2002.
3. 1. The shop was originally built in 1929 and the roof has constantly leaked in bad weather. On occasions, working pits have been flooded, rendering it impossible for people to work. The reconstruction of the roof was possibly thirty years overdue.
2. Despite requests from staff to be relocated during the period of construction work, Management chose to continue normal working in the shop. Guarantees were given that small sections of the roof would be worked on, but this did not happen.
3. The claimants continued to work as best they could, but endured less than ideal working conditions. The safety precautions taken were far from adequate.
4. The Unions' claim is in keeping with this type of situation, which has occurred before in the company. In Bus Atha Cliath last year maintenance staff were paid compensation of €1,523.69 (£1,200) per person for working in conditions that were far less severe than those in Inchicore.
4. 1. The re-roofing project was initiated to improve the working conditions and safety of staff working in the area. The project was brought forward ahead of others in recognition of complaints from staff.
2. The Company at all times consulted with the staff and acted with due diligence to ensure that they were secure from any effects of the re-roofing project. Consultants were retained as expert advisers to address any safety issues and to implement a Safety Management System.
3. The concerns of staff were listened to and acted upon at all times. They did not suffer any loss of earnings or overtime.
4. There are a number of very similar projects and compensation claims pending. Concession of this claim would undoubtedly lead to further knock-on claims in other areas.
The Court notes that in recognition of complaints from staff the Company took the initiative to improve the working conditions of the Motive Power Shop in Inchicore by bringing forward the start date for its re-roofing. The Court is conscious that for many years there were problems with leakages from the old roof.
The Court does not accept that the effects on staff of necessary refurbishment work can, in itself, give rise to a valid claim for compensation.
In all the circumstances outlined and taking into account the Company's efforts to meet the Unions' complaints, the Court is not convinced that the level of inconvenience was such as to merit compensation.
The Court, accordingly, rejects the claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
1st July, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.