INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
BORD NA MONA
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY AMICUS MSF)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioners Recommendation IR 8705/02/LM.
2. The worker was appointed Area Bog Foreman in April, 1982, at the Foreman 3A grade. The Union's claim is that the worker should be paid compensation for additional duties he undertook. The worker claims that he had an understanding with the Head of Operations that this extra remuneration would be paid but that this did not happen. Some months prior to retiring in April, 2001, the worker wrote to the General Manager, Horticultural Group of Bogs, seeking regrading in relation to his time with Bord na Mona so that this would impact on his pension in retirement.
The Company's case is that the worker's duties were the same as any other Bog Foreman and that no extra payment is due. The worker referred his case to a Rights Commissioner whose recommendation is as follows:
"The claimant to be paid €10,000 compensation by the Company in respect of this claim".
The Company appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 17th of November, 2003, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 29th of January, 2004, in Newbridge.
3. 1. The duties and responsibilities carried out by the worker were no greater than those carried out by other Bog Foremen.
2. The mix of duties performed by the Foremen is quite different but the level of responsibility is the same. The area of bog that the worker was responsible for was substantially smaller than the bog areas of other Foremen.
3. The worker acknowledges that when transferring to Horticultural bogs it was not a condition of his transfer that he would receive an upgrading.
4. No commitments were ever given to the worker that his grading was inappropriate or justified a regrading.
4. 1. The worker had a belief from talks with Management that they accepted that his claim had justification. He was told by the General Manager on a number of occasions "I'll look after that" when he asked about being regraded.
2. The Union does not believe that there will be any "knock-on" effect if the claim is conceded. This was an individual case that arose out of specific circumstances.
3. The worker only approached the Union when it became clear that Management would not resolve the matter.
4. The worker's duties were clearly identifiable as over and above the normal duties of the Foreman Grade 3A.
This dispute was originally referred to the Labour Relation Commission (LRC) in October, 2001. The claimant retired from work in July, 2001. Hence, at the time that the claim was referred to the LRC the claimant had ceased to be a worker within the meaning of Section 23 of the Industrial Relations Acts 1946-2001. For reasons which were more fully explained in Recommendation LCR16970, the Court lacks statutory jurisdiction to investigate a dispute in these circumstances.
As a Rights Commissioner had investigated the dispute and issued a recommendation, the parties requested the Court to determine this issue on an ad-hoc basis and, on the parties' agreement, to be bound by the decision of the Court. The Court agreed to proceed on that basis and determines as follows:
The claimant was properly graded at Grade 3A, and a claim for retrospective regrading is not justified. Nevertheless, there appears to have been some misunderstanding between the claimant and his manager in relation to his range of duties and as to whether certain responsibilities which he undertook were additional to those properly attaching to his post.
Having considered the submissions of the parties, the Court is of the view that there are exceptional factors in this case, peculiar to this individual claimant's circumstances, which justify allowing the Rights Commissioner's award to stand. Accordingly, the Court determines that the claimant should be paid the amount recommended by the Rights Commissioner but on an ex-gratia basis and in full and final settlement of all claims arising from his employment. Furthermore, it should not be quoted or relied upon in pursuance of any claim in the future by or on behalf of any other person.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th February, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.