SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Hayes
Employer Member: Ms Doyle
Worker Member: Mr Shanahan
1. Policy on portable electronic devices
2. This dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on 15 July 2016, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 26 August 2016.
3.1.The policy the Company is seeking to enforce was introduced without prior consultation or agreement with the Unions.
2.The manner in which the Company proposes to administer the Policy is unfair and contrary to the terms of the Company/Union disciplinary procedures.
3.The Company cannot pre-determine guilt without hearing the evidence and considering the context in which an incident occurs. To do otherwise would be contrary to natural justice and to the law.
4.1.The safety of staff, passengers and other road users is the first concern of the Company and is not a matter on which there can be any leeway or concessions.
2.The policy introduced by the Company is consistent with the Law and with the 2011 Handbook that has been operative since then.
3.The Company will comply fully with all procedures in place but is also putting staff on notice that it will take a very serious view of infringements of the policy and where appropriate will dismiss offending members of staff.
The Court has given careful consideration to the submissions of both parties to this dispute.
The Court finds that the Company has prohibited the use of portable electronic devices by drivers while in charge of a company vehicle. It has also put staff on notice that if found using such devices while in charge of a company vehicle they are putting their continuing employment at risk.
The Court recommends that the Unions should recognise the adoption of that policy and notify their members accordingly.
The Court also finds that the Company must when investigating any incidence of alleged breach of the impugned policy comply fully with the terms of its procedural and disciplinary procedures and with the terms of all relevant employment legislation. Furthermore any sanction it decides to take against anyone found to have infringed the policy must be informed by the facts and circumstances of the case, be measured and proportionate and satisfy the tests set out in all relevant employment legislation.
The Court recommends accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30 August 2016______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Neville, Court Secretary.