INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Dispute concerning the allocation of late duty.
2. The Claimant has been an employee of An Post for 23 years and has been employed as a Postal Sorter in the Dublin Mails Centre (DMC) since 1994. In September 2002 a Revised Working Agreement (RWA) was introduced following protracted but successful negotiations between An Post and the Communications Workers Union (CWU). Over 800+ operational staff are employed in the Plant.
- The Revised Working Agreement offered two contract levels to full time Postal Sorters, a 48 hour and 37½ hour contract. Prior to September 2002 the Plant operated on a 37½ hour roster with optional overtime. The vast majority of rosters, pre and post RWA, were scheduled to rotate through the day, evening and night shifts. The Claimant argues that he is continuously being placed on the 'late shift' 14.00 to 22.30 and that this is a punishment duty. He is requesting that his shift work pattern to revised to include some early morning shifts.
The worker referred the dispute to the Labour Court on the 7th May 2003 in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 A Labour Court hearing took place on the 25th June, 2003.
The worker agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
3.1 The Claimant is of the view that the late shift roster 14.00 to 22.30 is a punishment duty and that he has been rostered on this shift on medical grounds. He has provided the company with a number of medical certificates stating that he is unable to do night shift.
2. He is requesting that he be given more favourable shifts ie. early morning, more often and to be excluded from doing night shifts and Saturdays, on medical grounds.
3. He feels that his health is being adversely affected by continuously working the 'late shift' with little or no flexibility. His social life is also being affected due to his late shift roster.
4.1 The Claimant had a liability for night work prior to the introduction of RWA, a collective agreement on behalf of approximately 800 staff at the DMC represented by the CWU. This liability remained after the introduction of RWA.
2. After seeking advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), local management adjusted the Claimant's roster in line with the CMO's recommendation , despite the operational ramifications. It was decided to change his roster to 14.00 hours to 22.30 (late shift) as this was considered to be the most beneficial time from a production viewpoint whilst still addressing the claimant's medical requirements.
3. The Company responded in a fair and caring manner when the Claimant made it aware of his medical condition. They took fair and reasonable steps to facilitate his continued employment at the Plant whilst balancing the Company's and it's Customers' requirements to provide an effective service.
It is clear that the complainant in this case has a sense of grievance in relation to the attendance duty which he is required to work. It is also clear that he believes that continuing to work this duty is adversely affecting his health.
The Court is satisfied that the Company have sought to facilitate the complainant by assigning him to the duty which he presently works. It is also clear that there is little or no scope by which his request for earlier duties can be accommodated. The Court cannot offer any view on the health implications for the claimant arising from the stress which he claims to be experiencing in working his current duty roster.
The Court would, however, recommend that this matter be looked at again by the Company's Medical Officer.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th July, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.