INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
BORD NA GCON
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR7709/02/Gf
2. The worker commenced employment as Tote Manager with Board Na gCon at the Waterford Greyhound Track in 1965. He was employed on a part-time basis. The Union states that the worker has given thirty-seven years of loyal service to Bord Na gCon. It claims that the worker was informed that, because of his age, that he was being let go along with three of his colleagues who were in a similar situation. No provision was made for a severance package, which led to the claimant resigning in protest at the manner of his treatment.
Management rejects the Union's claim. It states that the claimant had long passed the retirement age.
The dispute was the subject of a Rights Commissioner's hearing which took place on the 18th July, 2002. The following is the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation:-
- I do not propose to make any comment on the issue of age/resignation/dismissal other than to say I believe he was correct in his impressionthat the Board had treated him badly in making no appropriate provision for his parting.Therefore, I recommend he be provided with the sum of €1500 in full and final settlement of this dispute."
Management appealed the Recommendation on the 13th September, 2002, in accordance
with Section 13 (9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court investigated the
dispute in Waterford on the 23rd October, 2002.
UNION'S ARGUMENTS:4. 1. The worker was treated badly by management after the worker's long and loyal service to the Organisation.2. The worker was deeply shocked and hurt when told that his employment was being terminated because of his age.3. The worker was never given the opportunity to join a pension scheme or contribute any voluntary payment to a fund to provide for his retirement.4. The issue of age appears to be the only criteria that management used as a measure of the worker's value as an employee. This is despite the trust of recent legislation whereby age is not a yard stick by which to measure someone's competence to do the job.5. The Union asks the Court to uphold the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation.
The Court is satisfied that the claimant's contract of employment did not contain any express provision as to retirement. Furthermore, the practice within the organisation was such that the claimant had a legitimate expectation that he could continue in employment for as long as he was fit to do so.
In the Court's view the Board was entitled to introduce a retirement age. However, since this involved a change in the terms under which the claimant was originally employed, it is not unreasonable that some compensation would be paid.
In the circumstances the Court determines that the claimant be paid an ex-gratia payment of €1,500.
Whilst the Rights Commissioner recommendation is upheld as to the payment it is varied as to the reasons and the classification of the payment.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th November, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.