INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
VITRA IRELAND LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY EUGENE F. COLLINS SOLICITORS)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY DEIRDRE BURKE SOLICITOR)
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-039541-PW-06/MMG.
2. The Worker concerned had been employed by the Company since 17th September 2001 in the position of Quality Sorting & Packing Charge Hand. Prior to that she worked for a sister company in Turkey for ten years as a General Operative.
The Worker maintains that she was demoted from her position in August 2005 without explanation or notice. The Company position is that the Worker failed to perform her duties to the required standard despite being given training and support in her role.
The issue was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. His recommendation issued on the 29th August 2006, in which he found that there was a certain validity to the Worker’s complaint and recommended that she be re-engaged by the Company on terms as mentioned. He also recommended that the parties sit down on the re-engagement to affirm the terms and conditions of the employment and issue same to the Worker. He further recommended a compensatory sum of €5,000 in recognition of the unfair manner in which the process had been undertaken.
The Worker appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 5th October, 2006, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 25th January, 2007, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Worker maintains that there was a total breach of her rights as an employee in that she was unilaterally removed from her position and demoted without notice or warning.
2. The Worker submits that there was a total failure by the Company to provide proper and transparent procedures for the promotion and re-organising of staff.
3. It is the Worker's contention that no complaints of her performance were brought to her notice and there was no investigation into any of the alleged complaints.
4. 1. The Company maintain that the Worker was having difficulty in her role as a Quality Sorting & Packing Charge Hand and that they worked with her to try and improve her supervisory and management skills.
2. The Company maintain that the Worker was informed that she would be re-assigned following the breakdown of her working relationship with her Manager.
3. The Company is willing to comply with the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner and re-engage the Worker as a General Operative on the same terms, conditions and benefits as she had enjoyed in the position of Charge Hand. They are also willing to pay the recommended compensation.
The Court has considered the extensive and conflicting submissions in this case.
The Court concurs with the general conclusions reached by the Rights Commissioner. The Court notes the absence of any appropriate grievance procedure and the lack of a sick pay scheme in the Company.
The Court would hope that the recommended resolution of this case can facilitate the Claimant's return to work at an early stage, and that she would not be debarred from future advancement with the Company.
The Court upholds the general principle of the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation but varies the compensation amount to €8,000.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
2nd February, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.