INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
COCA COLA BOTTLERS IRELAND
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
2. The Union's case is that the worker's position of bottle-sorting chargehand no longer exists, and it is seeking that the Company should offer him a severance package. The Company does not believe that a redundancy situation exists.
In 1996, the worker was appointed to the position of bottle-sorting chargehand. He had indicated that he wished to move from shift to day work and also to move off production bottling lines. In early 2001, the Company decided to contract out bottle sorting and the worker was advised that he was to go back on shift work. The worker objected and the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 24th of October, 2002.
3. 1. The Company's decision to contract out the bottle sorting was unilateral. There were no negotiations or meetings with the worker.
2. To date, since the change, the worker has been involved in miscellaneous work
(details supplied to the Court). His original job description is obsolete. The Company has not provided him with an alternative and suitable position.
3. As a result of being put back on production work, the worker is experiencing stress and a loss of self esteem. He has become a figure of fun in the workplace.
4. 1. A redundancy situation does not exist. The worker is part of the production team and production has not ceased or reduced in any material way.
2. The worker's pay rate was 'red-circled' when he moved to the production line and he was also paid €1,900 and compensation for loss of overtime.
3. The worker was one of 5 employees affected by the change. The other 4 workers accepted the circumstances. Employees in the Syrup Room underwent greater change in their work without a redundancy situation arising.
4. The worker rejected a job as a full-time cleaner and he choose not to apply for a vacant supervisors job.
The Court notes the changes which have taken place in the claimant's position as Bottle Sorting Chargehand as a consequence of the contracting-out of the bottle sorting requirement of the Company. The claimant has not accepted the offers of alternative employment made to him by the Company. The Court is not satisfied that these offers were comparable to the position held by the claimant and recommends that if suitable alternative employment is not offered to him within a period of three months from the date of this recommendation, then the parties should agree redundancy terms for him.
Incidents were relayed to the Court concerning the behaviour of the claimant's work colleagues; the Court wishes to highlight the duty of care on the employer to investigate this situation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th November, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.