INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
KERRY INGREDIENTS IRELAND
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Double appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR4096/01 Fl
2. The worker concerned has been employed by the Company for twenty years.
On the 27th and the 28th of May, 2000, a large quantity of whey powder was contaminated. An investigation was carried out by Management which determined that the incident was due to the non-performance of a simple and standard procedure by the operators involved. As a result, a final written warning was issued to the worker concerned.
The issue was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. His recommendation issued on the 12th of August, 2002, as follows:-
"In the particular circumstances of this case, I now recommend that the Final Written Warning given to the worker should be amended to a Written Warning, and that the duration of this warning should be dealt with in accordance with the Section headed "Duration of Warnings" in Clause 22 of the House Agreement".
(The worker was named in the Rights Commissioner's recommendation).
The Union, on behalf of the worker, and the Company appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 5th of September, 2002, and on the 17th of September, 2002, respectively in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 12th of November, 2002.
3. 1. The worker concerned did not receive training on Plant number one where the incident occurred.
2. There is no evidence that the worker concerned is responsible for the contamination of the product.
3. The worker's record should remain unblemished and the warning should be completely removed.
4. 1. As per the House Agreement such an occurrence of misconduct which involved substantial loss of revenue warrants suspension or dismissal.
2. The incident took place when only Plants number two and three were in operation. The worker concerned had received training on these plants.
3. Fair procedures were followed in relation to the handling of the matter and the issuing of the Final Written Warning was justified.
The Court notes that the Rights Commissioner was satisfied that the Company was fully entitled to take disciplinary action against the worker. He was further satisfied that there were mitigating factors in the worker's favour. The Court agrees with the Rights Commissioner on both points.
Having regard to all the circumstances, the Court does not see a sufficiently strong basis on which it could interfere with the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner. Accordingly, the recommendation is affirmed and both appeals are disallowed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th November, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.