INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
CHUBB IRELAND GROUP
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR21035/04/DI.
2. The issue involves a claim by the Claimant who has been employed by the Company since 1993. His role consists of loading ATM's, responding to call-outs ie breakdown of machines, etc. Due to work practice changes within the Company, the Claimant's hours were reduced. He was informed that following a tendering process the Company hoped to secure new business and that his hours would increase. Following a number of meetings an agreement was drawn up in August, 2003, whereby the Claimant was given a once off "good-will payment" for previous loss of earnings. The payment was made on the provision that it is confidential to the parties and no further claims would be taken. The Company also stated that pending the outcome of the tendering process, both parties agreed to review the Claimant's hours in six months. Noting that if a grievance arose it would pertain to this six month review period.
The Company was unsuccessful in securing the business tendered for, with the result the Claimant did not receive the increased hours expected. In August 2004, the Union met with Management to discuss the Claimant's on-going loss of earnings. The Union were now seeking compensation based on twice his annual loss, less the "good-will payment" made, to date. As the matter could not be resolved locally it was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and Recommendation. On the 10th May, 2005, the Rights Commissioner issued his Recommendation as follows:
“Havingfully considered the submissions made by the parties I find that the acceptance of the €2,500 "good will payment" by the claimant/SIPTU was on the clear understanding that the claimant's earnings would be restored to their former level.
I therefore find in favour of the claimant's complaint and award him compensation of €6,000 in respect of his loss of earnings. This award is in addition to the "good will payment" of €2,500 that has already been paid to the claimant".
On the 20th May, 2004 the Company appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 on the grounds that the "good will payment" of €2,500 fully satisfied the Company's commitment to compensate the Claimant as set out in the agreement of the 11th August, 2003.
A Labour Court hearing took place on the 5th January, 2006.
3.1 The claimant suffered a very substantial loss in earnings from late 2002 onwards of approximately €6,600 per year and is entitled to be fairly and adequately compensated.
2. The agreement of August, 2003, was reached in the context of the Company giving explicit assurances that the Claimant's hours and earnings would be restored very shortly and thus that any loses would only be for a relatively short fixed period.
3. The Rights Commissioner in his decision properly found in the Claimant's favour and awarded him €6,000.
4.1The payment of €2,500 was a gesture of "good-will" and without admittance of liability and a once-off payment. It was made on the provision that the payment is confidential and between the parties and that no further claim will be taken in regard to this or similar matters.
2. The Company feels that the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation was disproportionate and did not take into account the stand-by allowance given by the Company to equate to the 10 hours ATM replenishment time that the Claimant had initially been guaranteed.
3. The current practice has been accepted by all other front line maintenance employees and should the Union succeed, this could lead up a knock-on effect and further claims.
The Court has considered the terms of the letter of agreement between the parties dated 11th August, 2003. It is noted that this letter was drafted by the Company and did not expressly nor by necessary implication provide that the amount of €2,500 was to be in full and final settlement of the Union's claim.
On that basis and having regard to all the circumstances surrounding the conclusion of the agreement, the Court cannot accept the Company's contention that the goodwill payment of €2,500 was in full discharge of the claim.
It is clear that the Claimant retained a reasonable and legitimate expectation that should his hours of work not be increased to their former level his claim for compensation would be reactivated. In these circumstances the Court has concluded that the Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner is reasonable and appropriate. Accordingly the appeal is disallowed and the Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner is affirmed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th January, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.