1.Hardship, Improper Wages, Money Deducted From Wages Without Knowledge, Improper Training.
The worker was employed by the employer from 29thJune 2020 as an apprentice.
The worker submitted that she had experienced hardship, improper wages, money deducted without her knowledge and improper training. She submitted that while she had received a handbook she had not received a contract of employment.
The employer submitted that it had no understanding of the basis for the worker’s complaints and asserted that the worker had been provided with a contract of employment which she had signed and had signed a handbook which set out all relevant details of her employment arrangements including pay.
When questioned by the Court the worker submitted that she was seeking a refund of any deductions made from her wages which related to her attendance in the employer’s academy as part of her training. The employer submitted that the worker had agreed to all arrangements associated with her training including her pay arrangements.
The Court noted significant disagreement between the parties as regards whether the worker had received a contract of employment and as regards whether she had therein agreed to certain deductions from her pay. The Court notes that the worker confirmed her knowledge of the grievance procedure of the employer and that she had failed to follow that procedure in relation to any grievance in her employment.
The matter came before the Court as a trade dispute and not as a dispute as regards a potential breach of employment legislation. However, the Court holds a jurisdiction under relevant legislation in relation to a worker’s right to a written statement of her / his terms of employment. Similarly, the Court holds a jurisdiction to make determinations under the Payment of Wages Act, 1991 in situations where it is alleged that an employer has made deductions from a worker’s wages other than as provided for by a term of a contract of employment to whose inclusion in the contract the worker has given his or her prior consent in writing or a deduction to which the worker has otherwise given his or her prior consent in writing.
The Court, noting that the redress sought by the worker is a repayment of what she alleges were deductions made from her wages without her agreement or knowledge, is concerned that it is being asked to issue an industrial relations recommendation in a matter which is addressed by the Act of 1991. The Court considers, in effect, that it is being asked to make a recommendation which would purport to find that the employer had behaved unlawfully within the meaning of the Act of 1991. Any jurisdiction which the Court holds in respect of an alleged unlawful deduction from wages arises under the 1991 Act and not the Industrial Relations acts.
In all of the circumstances, the Court recommends that the parties accept that the matter is not a matter appropriate to be addressed as an industrial relations matter under the Industrial Relations Acts.
The Court so recommends.