SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY NBRU)
Chairman: Mr Haugh
Employer Member: Ms Doyle
Worker Member: Mr McCarthy
1. Reinstatement of Grade and Loss of Earnings.
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between the Worker and the Employer in relation to disciplinary sanctions imposed on the Worker following an alleged incident in the workplace. The Union on behalf of its member referred the dispute to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 on the 27th September 2016. A Labour Court hearing took place on 8th December, 2016. The Union agreed to be bound by the Recommendation of the Court.
There is an agreement in place between the Company and the Trade Unions that provides, inter alia, for a comprehensive disciplinary procedure. It provides that – other than in “exceptional circumstances”– the outcome of the Company’s internal disciplinary machinery shall be final. Where such exceptional circumstances do apply, a Trade Union may refer a decision of the Company’s Disciplinary Appeal Tribunal to this Court.
This dispute relates to a disciplinary sanction imposed on the Worker arising from events that occurred in October 2014. The Worker appealed to the Court under section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act 1969 from the decision of the Company’s Disciplinary Appeals Tribunal which upheld all elements of the disciplinary sanction applied to him by the initial decision-maker.
Having regard to the relevant provisions of the collective agreement referred to above, it seems to the Court that it is incumbent on the Union to first establish that the circumstances of this dispute are in some respect “exceptional” before the Court can embark on an examination of the substantive complaint raised on behalf of the Worker concerned.
The Court heard detailed submissions from the Trade Union and on behalf of the Company in relation to the issue of exceptional circumstances. Having considered those submissions, the Court is of the view that no exceptional circumstances have been identified by the Union in this case. The established practice of this Court is to uphold the terms of agreements entered into by Trade Unions and Employers. It follows, therefore, in the absence of any exceptional circumstances that would justify a contrary result, the Court must uphold the Company’s position to the effect thatthe outcome of the internal Disciplinary Appeal Tribunal, in this Worker’s case, is final.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th December 2016______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Sharon Cahill, Court Secretary.