INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
P AND M PRINTERS
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner Recommendation No. IR4791/01/GF.
2. The worker was employed by the Company in a clerical capacity since January, 1991. The worker alleges that her employer refused to deal with her requests for the provision of a safe working environment and ignored her complaints regarding toxic chemicals and lack of ventilation. The worker has been diagnosed as unfit for work since the 22nd of March, 2001.
The matter was referred to the Rights Commissioner, by the Union, on the 27th of September, 2001, and the Rights Commissioner recommended the following:-
Findings and Decision
"I have no hesitation on finding in the claimants favour. I am satisfied that she was badly treated and that her reasonable requests were ignored. Therefore, I recommend that she be compensated by her employer in the amount claimed £3,332.50 (€4,231.40) and that her employer complies with the H.S.A. inspectors recommendation, that a health and safety statement be posted and to install an extractor fan. I would urge that this action be taken quickly in order that the claimant can return to he normal duties."
The Union appealed the Rights Commissioners Recommendation to the Labour Court under Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act 1969. The Court heard the appeal on the 19th of February, 2002, in Athy. The employer advised the Court that he would not be making a formal submission.
3. 1. The difficulties the worker had with the employer were due to the hazardous nature of the workplace.
2. The Union made several attempts to have Health and Safety legislation enforced at the workplace but to no avail.
3. The employer advised the worker that he might not be in a position to offer her full-time employment if she were to return to work.
The employer told the Court that on legal advice he would not be making a formal submission to the Court. The employer was, however, provided with a copy of the Union's submission and was invited to comment on its contents or to otherwise make submissions on the case made on behalf of the claimant. Apart from telling the Court that he regarded the case as being without merit, the employer did not avail of the opportunity to participate in the hearing.
The Court is concerned at the lapse of time since this case was first initiated and that at this stage the employer appears to be reviewing the claimant’s employment status. This is a matter which should be now clarified.
The Court also notes that the Union may be pursuing other related unresolved issues elsewhere.
In the circumstances, there is no basis on which the Court can do other than uphold the Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner.
It is the decision of the Court that the Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner be affirmed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
4th March, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Helena McDermott, Court Secretary.