INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
NATIONAL BUS & RAIL UNION
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Agreed procedure to be adhered to.
2. The dispute before the Court arises from the filling of a vacant board in Bus Eireann, Rosslare Harbour. When boards become available in Bus Eireann, Waterford, they are advertised on the notice boards in the various depots specifying a closing date for applications and the most senior applicant is given the board. Custom and practice in the area is that in addition to Waterford-based drivers, drivers from out-based depots such as Kilkenny, Clonmel, Dungarvan etc. post their applications in a box at the Waterford depot. Drivers based in Rosslare post their applications into a box based in Rosslare. The Rosslare Inspector then contacts the Waterford Inspector and together they confirm applicants' seniority and make an appointment.
- The dispute before the Court relates to filling a position on the 6th April, 2006. A Waterford-based driver and a member of the National Bus & Rail Union (NBRU) was given the position but was subsequently informed that a more senior driver and SIPTU member based in Rosslare had applied for the position and was now being appointed.
The matter was referred to the Company/Trade Union Joint Industrial Relations Forum, which recommended"that normal custom and practice had prevailed and the most senior applicant should take up the position".The Forum also recommended"that there is a need to review the arrangements currently in place".
The NBRU's claim before the Court relates to what it considers to be a breach by management of the normal methods of applying for such vacancies. The issue of seniority itself is not in dispute.
The position is currently vacant due to the dispute and SIPTU is seeking the appointment of its member, the more senior driver, to the position with immediate effect and financial compensation is being sought for the delay in appointment.
Bus Eireann contends that a communications problem led to the initial incorrect appointment and that the situation was then corrected. It rejects the NBRU's claim and its position is that the appointment was filled in accordance with custom and practice.
On the 23rd June, 2006, the NBRUreferred 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 19th October, 2006.
The Unions agreed to be bound by the Court’s Recommendation
3. 1. The method for accepting applications is irregular and contrary to normal practice. The Court is requested to recommend that its member be appointed to the position as procedurally he is the senior driver.
4. 1. The Union's member, the most senior applicant, applied for the board using the long-established custom and practice that had been in operation in Rosslare for years. The member should not be penalised due to a breakdown in communication on management's part. The Union accepts the recommendation of the Forum. The Court is requested to recommend that its member be appointed immediately to the position for which he successfully applied and financial compensation is being sought equivalent to the actual loss accruing from the due appointment date.
BUS EIREANN'S ARGUMENTS:
5. 1. The position was filled as per custom and practice which had pertained at the Rosslare depot since 2000. Any alteration in the Forum's findings will seriously undermine the effectiveness of the agreed procedures. For the NBRU to now attempt to add a further tier to these procedures, having agreed that the Forum should recommend on the matter, is unfair and in breach of the agreement. The Court is requested to reject the claim by the NBRU.
The Court is satisfied that the conclusions reached by the Joint Industrial Relations Forum in this case should be accepted. Accordingly, the Court does not recommend concession of the claim.
The Court further recommends that the most senior person (whom management proposed to appoint) should be appointed to the position at issue without further delay.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th October, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.