Ryanair Ltd v Flynn

JurisdictionIreland
Judgment Date24 March 2000
Neutral Citation[2000] IEHC 36
Date24 March 2000
Docket Number[1998 No. 317 J.R.]
CourtHigh Court
RYANAIR LTD v. FLYNN & MCAULEY
JUDICIAL REVIEW

BETWEEN

RYANAIR LIMITED
APPLICANT

AND

PHILIP FLYNN AND DAN McAULEY
RESPONDENTS

AND

THE IRISH PRODUCTIVITY CENTRE
NOTICE PARTY

[2000] IEHC 36

THE HIGH COURT

Synopsis

Judicial Review

Judicial review; first and second named respondents had prepared a report for the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment pursuant to section 38(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 following an industrial dispute between SIPTU and the applicant which resulted in the closure of Dublin Airport; applicant seeking a declaration that the report was ultra vires in that there were manifest errors therein, a declaration that the first and second-named respondents failed to apply the rules of natural and constitutional justice in the preparation and finalisation thereof, and certiorari quashing the report or certain paragraphs thereof; whether the contentions and material placed before the court gave rise to any justiciable issue.

Held: Matter raised before the court was not justiciable because there was no decision susceptible to being quashed.

Ryanair Limited v. Flynn - High Court: Kearns J. - 24/03/2000 - [2000] 3 IR 240 - [2001] 1 ILRM 283

As a result of an industrial dispute at Dublin Airport the Tánaiste appointed the respondents to carry out an enquiry under the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The respondents carried out the said enquiry and as part of the enquiry the notice party were appointed to undertake a survey into the pay and conditions of certain workers. All interested parties, including the applicant, were invited to make submissions. The enquiry's report did not support certain statements made by Ryanair management. The applicant initiated judicial review proceedings challenging the report and seeking to have certain findings quashed. Kearns J held that the matter raised were not justiciable as there was no decision capable of being quashed. No legal right of the applicant was thereby affected. The application would be dismissed.

Citations:

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT 1990 S38(2)

GEOGHEGAN V INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS IN IRELAND 1995 3 IR 86

R V CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION BOARD EX-PARTE LAIN 1967 2 QB 864

CROWLEY, STATE V IRISH LAND COMMISSION 1951 IR 250

KEEGAN, STATE V STARDUST VICTIMS COMPENSATION TRIBUNAL 1986 IR 642

WADE & FORSYTH ADMINISTRATIVE LAW (1994) 311

DAGANAYASI V MIN FOR IMMIGRATION 1980 2 NZLR 130

SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EMPLOYMENT V ASLEF 1972 2 QB 455

LAKER AIRWAYS LTD V DEPT OF TRADE 1977 QB 643

SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EMPLOYMENT & SCIENCE V TAMESIDE BOROUGH COUNCIL 1977 AC 1014

FLOOD V GARDA SIOCHANA COMPLAINTS BOARD 1997 3 IR 321

GLEESON, STATE V MIN FOR DEFENCE 1976 IR 280

O'KEEFFE V BORD PLEANALA 1993 1 IR 39

MALAHIDE COMMUNITY COUNCIL LTD V FINGAL CO COUNCIL 1997 3 IR 383

GARDA REPRESENTATIVE ASSOC V IRELAND 1994 1 ILRM 81

O'REILLY V SULLIVAN UNREP SUPREME 26.2.1997 1997/11/3523

CARTON V DUBLIN CORP 1993 ILRM 467

LITTONDALE LTD V WICKLOW CO COUNCIL 1996 2 ILRM 519

TRULOC V MCMENAMIN 1994 1 ILRM 151

RYAN V COMPENSATION TRIBUNAL 1997 1 ILRM 194

ACT SHIPPING LTD V MIN FOR MARINE 1995 3 IR 406

STOKES V O'DONNELL 1996 2 ILRM 538

ASSOCIATED PROVINCIAL PICTUREHOUSES LTD V WEDNESBURY CORP 1948 1 KB 223

CHIEF CONSTABLE OF THE NORTH WALES POLICE V EVANS 1982 1 WLR 1155

HENRY DENNY & SONS (IRL) LTD V MIN FOR SOCIAL WELFARE 1998 1 IR 34

FAULKNER V MIN FOR INDUSTRY UNREP SUPREME 10.12.1996 1997/3/953

ACD SHIPPING (PTE) LTD V MIN FOR MARINE 1995 3 IR 406

MURTAGH V BOARD OF MANAGEMENT OF ST EMERS NATIONAL SCHOOL 1991 1 IR 482

BAILEY V FLOOD (PLANNING TRIBUNAL) UNREP MORRIS 6.3.2000

M & J GLEESON & CO V COMPETITION AUTHORITY 1999 1 ILRM 401

ORANGE COMMUNICATIONS LTD V DIRECTOR OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS 1999 2 ILRM 81

DEVLIN V MIN FOR ARTS 1999 1 ILRM 462

ABENGLEN PROPERTIES, STATE V DUBLIN CORP 1989 IR 381

1

Judgment of Mr. Justice Kearns delivered the 24th day of March, 2000 .

2

For the first time in its sixty year history, an industrial dispute resulted in the closure of Dublin Airport on the evening of Saturday, 7th March, 1998. The closure and events leading up to it caused massive disruption to airline passengers and airport-based companies who suffered major inconvenience until the 8th March, 1998 when the dispute was, at least pro tem., resolved.

3

The closure resulted from the sudden deterioration of an on-going industrial dispute between the Services Industrial Professional Technical Union (SIPTU) and Ryanair Limited, the Applicant herein, concerning pay and conditions of employment of Ryanair employees engaged as ground-handling agents (GHA's).

4

On the 3rd December, 1997 SIPTU, on behalf of its members in Ryanair, had written to the Applicant seeking agreement on the following issues:-

5

2 "1. A substantial increase in pay, including payment for unsocial hours.

6

2. Introduction of a proper staff grading structure.

7

3. Application of overtime rates in line with industry standards.

8

4. Introduction of effective health and safety procedures.

9

5. Acceptance by Ryanair of the rights of SIPTU to represent and negotiate on behalf of our members in your employ."

10

By letter dated 11th December, 1997, Ryanair replied to SIPTU stating:-

11

"Ryanair has repeatedly affirmed to our people that for so long as they continue to deal directly with the company,

12

• our rates of pay will be better than equivalent union rates of our competitors

13

• the level of pay increases will be higher than negotiated by SIPTU and our competitors

14

• the non-pay benefits, including the opportunity to participate in share options schemes will be more favourable."

15

In a Ryanair ground handling staff information notice dated 12th December, 1997, the Director of Group Operations stated:-

16

"Ryanair's GHA's now enjoy better pay and rosters than your equivalent opposite numbers in either Aer Lingus or Servisair. We have given you a commitment that, for so long as you deal direct with us we will keep you ahead of these union rates, and your pay increases will be better. We delivered on that promise in May and we will continue to do so.

17

What do don't need is SIPTU - the Aer Lingus union - using our people to create bad PR for Ryanair or disrupting our operation. Don't be misled - each of you is now doing better than your equivalent SIPTU members in Aer Lingus or Servisair - and you can ensure that this will continue to be the case by dealing directly with Ryanair.

18

• In dealing direct we will ensure that your pay stays ahead of union rates in our competitors.

19

• The level of increases will be higher than those negotiated between SIPTU and our competitors.

20

• Non-pay benefits, including the opportunity to participate in Share Option Schemes will be more favourable."

21

The factual accuracy of these assertions was not accepted by SIPTU who in correspondence set out its own comparisons and computations, the accuracy of which in turn was not accepted by the Applicant.

22

On 7th January, 1998 Ryanair wrote to SIPTU stating:-

23

"Ryanair's GHA s, as a result of negotiating directly with us, enjoy the best of all worlds:

24

1. They earn more money, have more time off, and better benefits than their equivalent opposite numbers in Aer Lingus or Servisair."

25

Thereafter the dispute escalated with reported incidents of verbal abuse and intimidation, notably at the head office building of the Applicant at the end of February, picketing at the entrances to the airport and even protests in the vicinity of aircraft at Dublin Airport itself. A situation of virtual chaos obtained at the airport on the 7th March, 1998.

26

Against this background, the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade & Employment ordered an Enquiry under Section 38(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990into the escalating industrial dispute.

27

Section 38(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990provides:-

28

"Where the Minister is of the opinion that a trade dispute is a dispute of special importance, he may request the Commission or the Court or another person or body to conduct an enquiry into the dispute and to furnish a report to him on the findings."

29

The remit of the Enquiry under Section 38(2) of the said Act, as stated in the letters of appointment of Philip Flynn and Dan J. McAuley, the Respondents herein, dated 8th March, 1998 was:-

30

"to conduct an enquiry into the escalating dispute at Dublin Airport and furnish a report to the Tanaiste."

31

Intensive efforts on the part of the Enquiry commenced immediately leading to proposals for the resumption of normal operations at Dublin Airport which happily bore fruit. Settlement terms for the dispute were drawn up on 8th March as follows:-

32

2 "1. All forms of industrial action at Dublin Airport will be called off this evening on the advice of SIPTU and the trade unions.

33

2. The 39 baggage handlers will work normally and not engage in any industrial or disruptive activity. Any breach of this will be reported to the Enquiry Team. The 39 baggage handlers will resume normal work when new rosters are issued for the week commencing Monday, 16 March. In the meantime, and with immediate effect they will receive normal pay.

34

3. There will be no victimisation by either side and any breach of this shall be reported to the Enquiry Team.

35

4. Ryanair and SIPTU will engage in separate discussions with the Enquiry Team commencing Monday, 9 March.

36

5. These provisions shall remain in force until the Enquiry Team report to the Tanaiste."

37

The Enquiry identified three principal issues which needed to be addressed, namely:-

38

(a) To identify the main differences, if any, between the pay and conditions of employment of Ryanair employees engaged in ground handling duties, and employees of other airport based companies engaged in broadly comparable...

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