Labour Court Database
File Number: CD88717
Case Number: LCR12105
Section / Act: S67
Parties: IRISH RAIL - and - TRANSPORT SALARIED STAFFS' ASSOCIATION
Claim, on behalf of four technical assistants, for retrospective application of a 36 hour week.
Division: Mr Fitzgerald Mr Heffernan Ms Ni Mhurchu
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD88717 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR12105
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1976
PARTIES: IRISH RAIL
TRANSPORT SALARIED STAFFS' ASSOCIATION
1. Claim, on behalf of four technical assistants, for
retrospective application of a 36 hour week.
2. In March, 1986, the Association wrote to the Personnel Officer
at Inchicore Works stating that an anomaly existed in relation to
the working hours of weekly paid technical assistants employed in
the laboratory at Inchicore. This was that those promoted from
craftsmens' grades were required to work a 40 hour week while
those promoted from the laboratory assistant grade were required
to work only 36 hours. Following discussions at local level, the
Company wrote to the Association on 21st April, 1987, stating:
"The Company is prepared to standardise the working hours of
all weekly paid Technical Assistants attached to Inchicore as
The standard week's work shall consist of 36 working hours.
Split turns of duty or meal times shall be permissible when
necessary providing that overall hours shall not exceed 10
The actual daily hours of attendance, for example 08.00 to
16.42 hours with an hour and a half for lunch, shall be
determined by management and may be varied from time to
time as the exigencies of the service require.
This arrangement will apply to all weekly paid Technical
The new arrangement will come into operation in the first
full pay week following acceptance by the unions."
Following correspondence between the Association and the Company,
a further meeting concerning this issue was held on 29th February,
1988. The Association sought retrospective standardisation of
hours to the date of each man's appointment to the grade. One was
appointed in 1973 and the other three in 1982. The Association
also stated that the three technical assistants who worked 36
hours, and were paid on the basis of a 40 hour week, were entitled
to the payment of overtime after 36 hours, rather than after 40
hours. The fourth technical assistant who worked a 40 hour week,
was, the Association claimed, entitled to payment of an additional
four hours pay per week in addition to the adjustment of his pay
in relation to overtime.
The Company did not consider these claims to be justified and the
matter was referred, on 1st July, 1988, to the conciliation
service of the Labour Court. A conciliation conference was held
on 13th September, 1988, at which no agreement was reached. The
matter was then referred to a full Court hearing. The hearing
took place on 14th October, 1988.
3.1 The Association is not seeking "compensation" but rather the
payment of the workers' full and proper entitlements in
accordance with the Company's own documented conditions of
employment (the Association presented a document to the Court
setting out the hours of duty of technical staff as 36 per
3.2 The Association believed that the Company's offer to
standardise the working hours at 36 per week was made in view
of this condition of employment as documented.
3.3 The Association believes that lump sums should be paid to
each of the four workers in respect of their retrospective
entitlements arising from the 36 hour week.
3.4 It is considered that, on promotion, the workers should have
been properly advised by the Company as to the conditions of
employment appropriate to their grade. This was not done.
4.1 It is the Company's strong view that there is no
justification whatsoever, for this claim. The claimants, at
the time of their upgrading, were fully aware that they were
40 hour week staff and that they would be paid on this basis.
They have been paid on this basis over the years (i.e.
overtime paid for hours worked over 40). It was by local
arrangement only that three of them actually worked 36 hours.
The document referred to by the Association does not form
part of any agreement and has no standing as such.
4.2 The Company, in good faith, offered a revised roster based on
a 36 hour week in response to the Association's claim. The
Company's offer has not been accepted but the Association is
claiming retrospective payment for past years, in respect of
which no previous claim was made. It is established practice
within the Company that implementation of any offer or Labour
Court Recommendation applies from the date of acceptance by
the trade union and this has been upheld by the Labour Court
- in this case the TSSA has not accepted the Company's offer.
4.3 The cost involved is very considerable and the Company's
financial position is critical (details supplied to the
The Court, having considered the submissions made by the parties,
recommends that the working hours of Technical Assistants should
be standardised at 36 hours a week with effect from 1st January,
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th November, 1988 Nicholas Fitzgerald
AK/PG Deputy Chairman