INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
GALCO STEEL LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Alleged unfair demotion.
2. The worker has been employed by the Company as a driver for more than 12 years. During that time he has driven both rigid trucks (25 ft) and articulated trucks (40 ft). In recent years he has mainly driven articulated trucks and was paid a premium of €25.98 per week. The worker's case is that in October, 2002, he was taken off driving the articulated trucks because of two incidents - (a) failing to make a delivery in Arklow and (b) being involved in an accident with a car whilst driving the truck. The worker claims that he was spoken to in a very aggressive manner by management. The Company's case is that the worker was never told that he was taken off the articulated trucks permanently, and his rate of pay was not adjusted. Indeed, the following week the driver was asked to cover a run in the articulated truck but he refused to do it.
Following a meeting with the worker and his Union representative, the worker's rate of pay was reduced by €25.98 per week i.e. the premium for driving the articulated truck. The worker referred his case to the Labour Court on the 13th of July, 2004, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 6th of October, 2004. The worker agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
3. 1. The worker was told in no uncertain terms that he was being taken off driving the articulated trucks. He was given no explanation until two weeks later.
2. The reason the worker did not make the delivery to Arklow was that he was attending a Union rally/march to the Dail on the day. As regards the motor accident, the driver of the car admitted responsibility. The Company has acknowledged that the worker was not at fault.
3. Other employees in the Company have been involved in far more serious incidents without being reprimanded (details supplied to the Court).
4. 1. The worker was not treated in a harsh manner. The reason he was moved to the rigid trucks was that the Company felt a change was needed. The move was not permanent.
2. The worker's premium was not removed until he twice refused to drive the articulated truck.
3. Whilst the worker was not at fault in the accident with the car, he did not report the incident to the Gardai. In regard to failing to make the delivery to Arklow, the worker did not inform management that he was attending the march. The incident involved an important client of the Company.
4. This case was already the subject of a Rights Commissioners hearing at which the worker was awarded 30 weeks x €32.64 (enhanced premium). The worker is back driving the articulated truck and is being paid the premium on a weekly basis.
Having heard the written and oral submissions which were put forward by both parties, the Court is not satisfied that there was any evidence of bullying and harassment on the part of the employer in relation to the issue raised.
The Court notes that the issue of the rate of pay is now resolved following a Rights Commissioners hearing, and the claimant is now driving an articulated truck on request and is being paid the articulated truck rate on a weekly basis, irrespective of which truck he is driving, as is the normal driving arrangements in place in the Company.
The Court, therefore, recommends that the position put forward by the Company is reasonable and should be accepted by the claimant.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th November, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.