INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
MAYO COUNTY COUNCIL
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR16085/03/GF.
2. The worker has been employed by the Council since 1978. His work involves driving a tractor unit, which is the lorry part of an articulated vehicle and pulls various trailers. The trailer at the centre of the dispute is known as a low-loader and is used to carry plant or machinery from one place to another.
The Union's case is that the worker was unilaterally removed from driving the low- loader in 2002, and that for the previous six years he had been the sole driver of the trailer. The Council now employs five workers to drive the low-loader. The Council's case is that the worker concerned still drives the low-loader but that the Council is entitled to use a number of other drivers as it sees fit.
The Union referred the case to a Rights Commissioner and his recommendation is as follows:-
"I have considered the case carefully and I recommend the claimant should accept a rota for three drivers of the articulated tractor units in relation to low-loader duties."
The Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 2nd of June, 2004, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 2nd of December, 2004, in Castlebar, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The worker was always first option for driving the low-loader. It was only if he was sick or on annual leave that someone else would take over his duties. He believes that he should still have first option.
2. Driving the low-loader requires a commitment to be available on weekends, during holiday periods, etc. The worker, who was conscious of this, decided to retire his position as a retained fire fighter with the Council in 1998 to devote full time to his driving duties.
3. Management did not consult with the worker prior to making its decision in 2002.
4. 1. The Council did not withdraw driving duties of the low-loader from the worker. He is still driving the same tractor unit that he has always driven and it pulls whatever trailer is appropriate to the work assigned to him.
2. It would not be appropriate for the Council to confine duties relating to the low-loader to a single driver. The Council must be able to allocate driving duties as it sees fit, depending on the work needed.
3. The worker has not suffered a financial loss, as he claims. Estimated earnings for 2004 show a considerable increase on earnings for 2002 and 2003.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court concurs with the findings and recommendation of the Rights Commissioner and upholds his recommendation. Therefore, the worker's appeal fails.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
17th December, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.