INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY ICTU)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Stores Broadstone Garage - re lump sum payment.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of six of its members employed in the stores at Broadstone Bus �ireann Garage, for disturbance payments due to upgrading work carried out in the premises in July, 2003. The Bus �ireann garage at Broadstone is located in a building which is divided into two sections. One half houses the Bus �ireann garage and the other half houses a Dublin Bus garage. Prior to the work commencing, the Union communicated its concerns regarding health and safety to Management and compensation for the disturbance caused was sought. Management rejected the claim of compensation. Work commenced on the building on the 24th July, 2003 and the Union contends that the members had to leave the building due to intense dust from the work being carried out. Management instructed the staff to return to the stores which they refused to do. The staff were subsequently informed that two hours pay was being deducted from their pay as their absence from the stores was considered as Unofficial Industrial Action. The issues were referred to the internal Industrial Relations Tribunal within the Company. The outcome of the Tribunal would normally be accepted by the Union however on this occasion the Tribunal's recommendation was rejected.
- On the 1st June, 2004, the Unionreferred the issue to the Labour Court, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 28th October, 2004.
- The Union agreed to be bound by the Court’s Recommendation.
3. 1. The issue involved in this dispute is of fundamental importance and on this occasion the Union contends that it had no option but to reject the findings of the internal Tribunal. The Unions are asking the Court to look at the serious implications for workers who walk away from places where their Health & Safety is seriously at risk and being dealt with as if they were taking Unofficial Industrial Action.
2. The full amount of wages lost on the 24th July, 2003, arising from the uncontrolled actions of the contractors working on the premises should be restored in full.
3. Compensation for disturbance was paid to Dublin Bus employees for work carried out on the premises in 2000 and the staff at the Bus �ireann garage should be afforded the same compensation as their colleagues in Dublin Bus.
4. 1 Both Unions and Company have a joint responsibility to ensure that the dispute resolution procedures are fully complied with and honoured. It is imperative for the future continuance of procedures that the Forums Recommendation be upheld. The monetary award made by the forum is generous when cognisance is taken of the outcome of similar type claims referred to the Labour Court.
2. The level of inconvenience endured by the six staff in the stores was not exceptional and the work involved was essential from a maintenance and safety perspective.
3. The continued effectiveness of the agreed procedures would be seriously damaged if the Forums recommendations are to be undermined.
The ICTU Bus Eireann Trade Union Group and SIPTU represented six claimants on the issues before the Court. The issues in dispute, which are brought under Section 20(1) case, have already been the subject of the Company's agreed Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Machinery. The Joint Industrial Relations Forum issued its recommendation on the issues on 4th November 2003. Both parties accept that recommendations of the Forum are normally accepted.
The Court notes that the Forum accepts that due to the reported circumstances, which prevailed in the working environment on 24th July 2003, normal working may not have been possible. However, as the workers involved had failed to abide by the agreed procedures for dealing with matters of this nature, the Forum recommended that a deduction of one hours pay was appropriate in the circumstances.
Having consider the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court understands that efforts were made by the workers to notify management of the problem and that their disappointment at management's failure to alleviate the difficulties, led to the action taken by them.
In all the circumstances of this case, the Court recommends that the one hours deduction of pay be restored.
The Court does not recommend any variance in the Forum's recommendation on the ex-gratia payment recommended.
The Court does not see justification in the claim for a compensation payment similar to that paid in Dublin Bus in 2001 and therefore, rejects this claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th November, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.