INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
LAOIS COUNTY COUNCIL
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR12358/02/LM.
2. The worker concerned commenced employment with the Council on the 17th of June, 2001. The issue before the Court relates to the extension of the worker's probationary period by three months and again by a further three months. The Union, on behalf of the worker concerned states that the reasons for the extension were not made clear to him. The Council states that his work performance was unsatisfactory and this was made known to him by his supervisor. The worker concerned was made permanent on the 17th of December, 2002.
The issue was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. Her recommendation issued on the 14th of April, 2003, as follows:-
"The position of Laois County Council is upheld in relation to the claim before me. However, the other issues raised by SIPTU should be followed up by a separate agenda to Laois County Council seeking a meeting to deal specifically with same".
The Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 12th of May, 2003, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 14th of October, 2003, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The reasons for the extension were not made clear to the worker concerned. No one spoke to him regarding his work performance.
2. The Council acted contrary to the worker's contract of employment and in this regard due recompense should be awarded.
4. 1. During the first twelve months of the worker's employment his work performance was unsatisfactory. He was spoken to on a number of occasions by his supervisor.
2. The Council acted in a fair and reasonable manner at all times in relation to this issue which has been settled since December, 2002, when the worker concerned was made permanent.
The Court has considered the positions of both sides to the Union's appeal of the Rights Commissioner's recommendation. The dispute between the parties relates to the extension of the worker's probationary period. The Court notes that the worker is no longer on probation, that he was made permanent with effect from 17th December, 2002, and the employer's guarantee that the extensions of his probationary period will have no impact in the future. The Court also notes that the employer has changed the method of assessment of performance for those on probation to ensure that in future workers are fully aware of any shortcomings.
In these circumstances, the Court upholds the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner and disallows the appeal.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd November, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.