INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR16266/03/MR.
2. The worker had been employed by the Company as a maintenance technician since 2002. The Union are claiming that the information the worker had received before he joined the Company had been inadequate and had left him at a disadvantage. He was not aware that he would be on a lower rate of pay than other technicians for a period of time as a result of upskilling on the ETS Maintenance Training Programme.Other technicians had received increments on 1/03/02, 1/09/02 and 1/03/03 on completion of the 3, six month training modules. The Company offered to apply these increments to the worker after a delay of six months in each case. This would have left him short by around €1,030. The Union maintains that this shortfall is in the region of €2,200.
- The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On the 30th July 2004, the Rights Commissioner issued his recommendation as follows:
“I therefore recommend that the claimant and the ATGWU should accept the offer made by the Company in their letter of 28th May 2003 in full and final settlement”.
The Company's offer:
Phase: 1st September, 2002 : First Payment effective
1st March, 2003 : Second phase due
1st September, 2003 : Third phase due.
In accordance with the 18 months timeframe, the Company propose that the additional two increments would be applicable on the above dates if the training has been completed. If the training is delayed, it would apply retrospectively to these dates on completion. This would ensure the application in the claimants case of similar arrangements which apply to his colleagues.
- On the 2nd September, 2004 the Union on behalf of the claimant appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969, A Labour Court hearing took place on the 8th December, 2004.
(The claimant was named in the Rights Commissioners recommendation)
3.1 The worker was offered the position as a 'Multiskilled Maintenance Technician' in correspondence dated 9th May 2002 and was in fact employed as a Multiskilled Maintenance Technician rather than a Maintenance Craftsman.
2. In line with this position of Multiskilled Maintenance Technician the agreed rate of pay between the Company and the Union is €479.44.
3. The Union maintains that the Rights Commissioner misunderstood the information and incorrectly stated that the shortfall was £1,030 when in fact it was in excess of €2,200.
4. The worker was never informed about the pay structure applicable, nor was he informed that he would be on a Maintenance Craftsman rate until he achieved the ETS accreditation associated with being paid the Multiskilled technician rate.
4.1 The Company progressed the first phase of the workers training of the ETS programme for Maintenance Technicians on an exceptional speedy basis, within three and a half months, it normally took 6 months.
2. The ETS training programme has an established 18 months time frame. The worker finished his course within 15½months.
3. To agree less than 6 monthly interval completion dates for training would be unfair to the workers colleagues and would undermine the well understood approach to ETS in the Company at large.
4. It was never agreed to back date the workers pay increments to the same date as his colleagues. They had commenced their ETS programme 8 months earlier than the worker.
5. The Company offered the worker a very fair compromise which was to agree timings of 6 months for phase 2 and 3, based on the finish date of his phase 1. He would have his pay increments back dated to 1st March 2003 for phase 2 and 1st September, 2003 for phase 3. This is the exact same basis on which his colleagues had agreed their completion dates. The only difference, they started their programme ahead of him, long before the worker commenced employment with the Company.
The Union, on behalf of the worker, submitted to the Court that new material had come to light, which indicated that the appellant was employed as a "Multiskilled Maintenance Technician" and not a Maintenance Technician as submitted by the Company. Therefore, the Union maintained that he should have been paid the full rate for a Multiskilled Maintenance Technician i.e. the rate applicable in the Company to those who have completed the full ETS Maintenance Training Programme.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court accepts that the appellant did not possess the required level of skills on recruitment and therefore he undertook the necessary training involved in the ETS programme. The Court notes that his training was condensed into a shorter period than others and was accordingly paid the full rate after twelve months.
The Court accepts that the timeframe proposed in the letter of 28th May 2003, is consistent with the approach taken for other Maintenance Technicians and concurs with the Rights Commissioner's findings that this approach was fair and reasonable.
Therefore, the Court disallows the appeal and upholds the Rights Commissioner's recommendation.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th December, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.