CIPD Southern Region Host Mock Labour Court Hearing at CIT

CIPD Southern Region Host Mock Labour Court Hearing at CIT

Published on: Thursday, 08 March 2018

CIPD Southern Region in conjunction with sponsors CIT were proud to present an exceptional learning experience for HR Professionals and students of HR with a division of the Labour Court sitting at Cork Institute of Technology, Bishopstown Campus on Wednesday 7th March to hear a mock complaint. This observed all the protocols which would be in place at a real hearing. Mr Alan Haugh, BL, Deputy of the Labour Court, and his team; Linda Tanhan, Peter Murphy and Louise Shally presided.


The event was opened by Dave Barry, Chartered FCIPD, Chair, CIPD Southern Region committee who welcomed the audience on behalf of CIPD before introducing Don Crowley, Head of Organisation & Professional Development, School of Business at CIT. Don spoke of the long association between CIT and CIPD, about what the college offers as a learning institution and how they were happy to sponsor and host this event, before handing over to Don Hegarty, Chartered FCIPD, who acted as Process Coordinator for the event. 


Don Hegarty, Chartered FCIPD, a very experienced HR professional with a wide knowledge base in the profession gave the audience a comprehensive explanation of what was about to take place and introduced the participants in the mock hearing. These were Conor O’Connell, Chartered FCIPD; Barry Hill, Chartered FCIPD, for the Employees v Sophie Crosbie, IR/HR Executive, IBEC and Jim Reaney, HR Consultant, acting for the Employer. The case to be heard related to a claim for a pay increase by a group of workers represented by Blue Collar Union to Evolutionary Engineering under section 20 (1) the Industrial Relations Act, 1969.


Photos shows, L to R, Barry Hill, CIPD, Don Crowley, head of Department of Professional Development, CIT,  Gerard O’Donovan, Head of Faculty of Business & Humanities, CIT, Margaret Collins, CIPD, Jim Reaney, HR Consultant, Sophie Crosbie, IBEC, Mari Manning, CIPD, David Barry, Fastnet Recruitment & CIPD, Don Hegarty, CIPD, Conor O’Connell, CIF, Brian McGrath, Head of School of Business, CIT.


The Co-ordinator explained the stage at which the case was at present; both parties have been trying to resolve the conflict that had arisen between them, so they entered a conciliation process. Those attending the event were then ‘transported’ to view both parties at work on stage, with the interactions between the representatives of each side, drawing occasional laughter from the audience.


As in many cases such as the one in play, resolutions are not easily found, so the parties can take their case before the Labour Court for a hearing.  Following a brief explanation by the Process Co-ordinator, the audience found themselves ‘in the Labour Court’ observing protocol in action as Mr Alan Haugh, BL, Deputy Chairman of the Labour Court led his team into the room, with the audience standing until each member was seated at the bench. Each side were directed to plead their case for consideration to the Court, which they did with passion and clear expertise; quotes from the Employer representative ‘If you are looking for a raise, don’t ask the man with a hole in his pocket’ and the Union ‘We won’t be the Company’s Messenger Boy’ adding a touch of humour to the otherwise formal process. Representatives for both sides delivered worthy performances throughout, highlighting the full extent of their expertise in such matters, with neither letting the other away with anything to the delight of the audience who were privy to proceedings on stage.


Once the case for both sides were stated, the Court members queried the representatives and drilled for clarifications to establish the facts, as they would in a real case, once satisfied they had sufficient information, they retired to consider their decision. The audience once again rising as they left the room.

Following a short break, the Court resumed in front of an excited and anticipatory audience who had one question on their collective minds….who would win?


Once back in session, the members of the Court delivered their decision – each one in turn giving their view, breaking down the case into its component parts, cognisant of the location and the valuable learning points that could be taken from the exercise.  



The judgment of the Court was: that both parties should return to conciliation to progress matters further, pointing out that this was the Court of last resort and all previous efforts to resolve the dispute should be taken before bringing the matter before the Labour Court. They suggested that a timeline be set e.g. end of this month (March) – they directed the parties to work hard to find a resolution, satisfactory to both sides. Should there be any outstanding issues after this process was undertaken, the Court would facilitate a hearing at short notice.


Dave Barry, Chair, CIPD Southern Region, thanked the members of the Labour Court for their participation and presented them gifts (sponsored by the Irish Examiner) in appreciation for the time given to this event.  Having delivered their decision, the Labour Court members filed out of the room with the audience once again standing until they departed.


The Process Co-ordinator then took over proceedings and facilitated a feedback session with the audience offering them the opportunity to identify the key learnings from the experience and to ask questions, all of which were expertly responded to by the players in the case.  The audience verdict on the proceedings was resoundingly positive, with some stating that the event had been a real eye opener to anyone who might have to go before the Labour Court in a real life situation.


Don Crowley, CIT was called upon to close proceedings, where he thanked all the participants, the organisers of the event and the Labour Court members. He then handed over to Dave Barry to close the event on behalf of CIPD. Dave thanked CIT for hosting and sponsoring the event as well as everyone who was involved in making it successful.

The next Southern Region Event will be a breakfast presentation taking place at Maryborough House Hotel, on Wednesday, 18th April, 2018 @ 7:30am. The topic will be HR Partnering during Transformational Change. The event is sponsored by Careerwise Recruitment. A formal announcement will be issued to members on the regional diary in the next edition of the CIPD Ireland newsletter.

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