SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
LABORATORY SUPPLIES LTD T/A LENNOX
(REPRESENTED BY FRANK DRUMM)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY JRK BUSINESS SUPPORT & EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY SERVICES)
1.Complaint Under Section 20(1) Of The Industrial Relations Act.
The trade dispute before the Court concerns a disciplinary sanction imposed on the worker arising from what is accepted to have been a period of his driving regulated cargo as part of his job role without possessing a current licence to so do.
A significant feature of the underpinning elements of this trade dispute is the absence of any shared understanding of significant factual matters having a bearing on the dispute. The parties, for example, are unable to agree whether the driving element of the role previously occupied by the worker amounted to 1.5 days per week as asserted by the employer or 3.5 days per week as asserted by the worker. Similarly, the parties are unable to agree whether the worker has suffered a loss of earnings arising from his inability to undertake driving duties in the absence of a current licence to do so.
The parties do agree however that a specific licence issued to an individual under a statutory regime is required for that individual to drive a vehicle carrying hazardous material. It is also agreed that the worker was engaged in such activity as part of his role up to some time in early 2023 and that his licence to do so had expired in May 2021.
It appears also to be agreed that the worker did not confirm to the employer that his licence was no longer current until early 2023. Finally, it is agreed that the worker was immediately prohibited from driving vehicles carrying hazardous material when it became apparent that he had no valid licence to do so, and was instead assigned to working in the warehouse where previously he had carried out the balance of his working week when not driving.
The worker confirmed at the hearing that he had taken no steps to secure a current licence up to the date of the hearing. The employer confirmed at the hearing that if the worker secures a current licence entitling him to drive the employer’s vehicles when carrying hazardous material, he would, subject to existing vacancies or availability of such work at the time, be ‘in the frame’ to carry out those duties as heretofore.
The employer imposed a final written warning on the worker in March 2023 and set out that the warning would expire 12 months later.
The Court has taken note of the long service of the worker and the apparently good relationship of the parties across that period, and has also noted the employer’s submission of a record within the employment of very long service of many workers across the long history of the employer company.
In all of the circumstances that have been comprehensively set out in oral and written submissions of the parties, the Court, in the spirit of the long service of the worker to date and hopefully in prospect, recommends, in full and final settlement of this trade dispute, that;
The Court so recommends.
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to David Campbell, Court Secretary.