INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioners Recommendation IR16957/03/JH.
2. The appeal concerns a worker who was employed as a Train Examiner at Shelton Abbey, County Wicklow for over twenty years. With the loss of the IFI contract his position was no longer required at Shelton Abbey. The worker was eventually relocated to the North Wall Depot, Dublin. The Union claimed that the worker suffered a significant reduction in his earnings and submitted a claim for compensation.The Company initially offered a payment of €8, 470. The Company used the traditional formula of 2.5 times the actual loss subject to a ceiling of € 8,470. The Company subsequently increased its offer to €14,000 The Union rejected the offer and claimed that the 'change process formula' recommended in LCR 16347 be used. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation. On the 5th May, 2004 the Rights Commissioner issued her recommendation as follows:
"Based on the submissions made and the reasons set out in the foregoing I do not accept either the Union proposal or the Company proposal. I do recommend that the worker receive the sum of €20,000 in settlement of his claim for loss of earnings resulting from his relocation to Shelton"
(The worker was named in the Rights Commissioner's recommendation)
The Company and the Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 6th May, and the 24th May, respectively. The Court heard the appeal on the 13th September, 2004
3. 1. The Company accepts that the worker's earnings currently are significantly less than in his period of employment at Shelton.
2. The Company, however, cannot apply the "change process formula" (as recommended in LCR 16347) in this case. Its application is clearly inappropriate in the circumstances. The event which triggered the worker's loss was the withdrawal of the IFI business and not any Company initiative aimed at rationalisation through the change process of any particular area of the business.
3. The Company's original offer of €8,474 was increased to €14,000 in response to Union pressure.
4. The 'change process formula' was applied to workers in the closure of the Fleet Maintenance Facility, Connolly Station (Connolly Loco). It was appropriate in the circumstances of that case.
5. The Rights Commissioner's award is excessive. It's concession could cause serious difficulties for the Company in terms of the industrial relations process and from a financial point of view.
1. The worker suffered a very substantial loss of earnings. The transfer also caused severe hardship to the claimant in that he had to commute daily from his home in Arklow to the North Wall Depot.
2. The formula used under LCR 16347 should be applied in the case of the worker. These terms are as follows:
first £ 3,200 (€4,063.16) by 2.5 times annual loss
next £ 4,000 (€5,078.95) by 2.5 times annual loss
remainder at one times annual loss.
Under that formula the maximum amount payable to the worker would be €25,394.76
3. The worker's situation is unique in that because of the high earnings enjoyed for many years and subsequent significant reduction in his earnings there was very severe financial pressure on him.
4. The terms of LCR 16347 were applied to staff in the closure of the Fleet Maintenance Facility, Connolly Station (Connolly Loco) even though this situation could not be described as ' change process talks'. It was a Company decision to change from locomotive engines to rail cars, resulting in a proposal to close the facility.
The Court, having heard the oral and written submissions of the parties, finds that the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation is appropriate and dismisses both appeals. The Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner is upheld.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
17th September, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.