INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
TRALEE TOWN COUNCIL
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioners Recommendation IR15356/03/JH.
2. The worker was employed by Tralee County Council as a caretaker of Tralee Town Park (accommodation supplied, gratis) up until April 2002. In early 2002 the worker applied for a position as "Refuse Collector" for personal reasons even though the position attracted a lower basic pay and conditions and the house forfeited. The Council rehoused the worker while he was employed as a refuse collector. The Council decided to discontinue the Saturday morning refuse collections in March 2003. The worker’s claim is that, he took a cut in wages when he transferred to refuse collection from a previous position, on the understanding that overtime on Saturdays, plus meal allowances would make up the shortfall as he was now paying a mortgage and these were not taken into account.
- The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On the 1st June 2004, the Rights Commissioner issued his recommendation as follows:
“Based on the foregoing conclusions I do recommend that compensation of loss of earnings be paid to each of the claimants as follows; the claimant 106 hours pay, (2 other workers ie 1 at 160 hours pay, the other 132 hours of pay). These payments to be at the current hourly rate of pay”.
- On the 28th June, 2004 the claimant appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 on the grounds that he was treated less favourably than his colleagues in this case. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 7th December, 2004.
(The claimant was named in the Rights Commissioners recommendation).
3.1 The Union contends that the Rigths Commissioner did not recognise, in the amount awarded (the equivalent of 106 hours pay) the particular circumstances pertaining to the worker i.e. he had forfeited a house and would have to take out a mortgage on the basis that Saturday morning overtime would continue addressing the mortgage payments for the duration of same.
2. On taking up the position, attendance for Saturday morning overtime was considered mandatory and was considered regular and scheduled overtime.
3. At the interview process for the post, it was conditional that attendance for this overtime would have to be accepted before being considered for refuse collector.
4. The worker weighted up the options and decided to accept the new position.
5. This choice was made explicitly with the understanding that the Saturday morning commercial refuse lift would continue.
4.1 The worker was well aware of and agreed to the wage scales involved when his transfer was granted. His loss of basic wages was compensated by the payment of meal/travel allowances.
2. The Council were extremely generous in housing arrangements for the worker.
3. Due to economic reasons the Council was forced to alter the refuse service. The Council faced the prospect of terminating the service and being forced to make workers redundant, or curtailing the service with a loss of overtime only.
4. The Council have accepted the Rights Commissioners recommendation and have already compensated the other claimants.
5. The Council maintains that the worker has been adequately compensated for wage loss , by the allowances and housing arrangements.
6. The decision by the Rights Commissioner to award less hours to this worker was reflective of his extremely short service in this area when compared to his work colleagues - less than one year.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submission, the Court recommends that the appellant should be paid 192 hours pay at the current hourly rate of pay in full and final settlement of his claim for loss of regular and rostered overtime on Saturdays.
Accordingly, the Court varies the Rights Commissioner's recommendation in respect of the claimant.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.