Labour Court Database
File Number: CD91148
Case Number: LCR13272
Section / Act: S67
Parties: IRISH RAIL - and - RAIL OPERATIVE TRADE UNION GROUP/NATIONAL BUSWORKERS' UNION
Dispute concerning the clawback of pay at retirement in respect of locomotive drivers.
Division: Ms Owens Mr Keogh Ms Ni Mhurchu
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD91148 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR13272
THE LABOUR COURT
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 67, INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT 1946
PARTIES: IRISH RAIL
RAIL OPERATIVE TRADE UNION GROUP/NATIONAL BUSWORKERS' UNION
1. Dispute concerning the clawback of pay at retirement in
respect of locomotive drivers.
1. 1. Within the Company there are 9 centrally processed
payroll systems and the locomotive drivers in question belong
to the rail running payroll. The workers' payroll working
week is from Monday to Sunday. The payroll system operates
in such a way that if a worker started on a Monday, he would
not be paid his wages including overtime and shift allowance
(trimmings) until the Thursday of the third week. In
actuality, the Company advance the worker 40 hours basic pay
on the second Thursday and the worker is paid 2 weeks in
arrears until he retires or leaves the locomotive section.
When the worker retires this advance is reclaimed at current
rates by the Company. The worker is paid his salary plus
trimmings on the first Thursday after he retires. On the
second Thursday however he only receives trimmings with his
salary being reclaimed against the advance paid at the start
of his career.
1. 2. The Unions accept this method of payment as a long
established practice and accept that it was in operation
after 1947. They are in dispute with the Company on behalf
of some members who joined prior to 1947 and claim that they
were not advanced the first week's wages. The Company
rejected the claim citing the established practice within the
Company. The dispute was referred to the Conciliation
Service of the Labour Court and conferences were held on 8th
September, 1989, 6th October, 1989 and 19th September, 1990.
At Conciliation the Unions were asked to identify numbers
involved. The Company examined the lists presented but could
not agree that any money was owing as a result of its pay
policy. It was agreed by both parties that the dispute be
referred to a full hearing of the Labour Court. A Labour
Court investigation took place on 8th April, 1991.
3. 1. The Company has admitted that it has no records of
payment to the workers concerned prior to the setting up of
Central Accounts. The Company has therefore rejected this
clam without any grounds, whereas the Unions have provided
the names and testimony of members who are adamant that they
were never advanced a week's wages (details supplied to the
Court). These men with long and honourable service with the
Company would not make the claim unless they were certain
that they were fully entitled to it.
2. The issue of the alledged advance of hours is further
complicated by the entry of Traffic Department (Rail) staff
into the Locomotive Section (circa 1946). In 1966 Civil
Engineers Department and Mechanical Engineers Department
(Rail) came into the Locomotive Section. Members are
prepared to state that they do not recall any situation where
hours were advanced. The Court are also asked to investigate
the Company's policy in regard to the alledged advance of the
hours in respect of personnel entering the Locomotive Section
in the post diesel era as trainee drivers (post 1964).
Without prejudice to the stated case, if it is proved that an
advance took place, the Court should recommend a formula by
which this can be recovered without subjecting the staff to
the present unsatisfactory arrangements.
4. 1. This matter was first raised by the Unions in March
1988. Since then and through conciliation, the payroll
system has been explained. The Company's position has
remained that all wages due were paid to staff on retirement.
This is easily illustrated (details supplied to the Court).
The existing payroll system has applied as far back as memory
goes and the Company is prepared to discuss a change in the
system if such is required. The Unions have accepted that it
applied after 1947 and there is no reason to suggest that the
situation was any different prior to 1947.
2. At conciliation it was suggested that the Company
examine a list from the Unions on those thought to be
eligible prior to 1947. A list of 12 names was submitted.
Subsequently it was suggested that applications should be
considered from any retired persons who entered the driving
grade prior to January, 1947, then transferred to other
sections and back again after January, 1947. They would have
been dealt with as new entrants on their return to driving.
If this claim were conceded the cost to the Company would be
5. On the basis of the evidence submitted and in view of the
lack of proofs the Court recommends that the Company accept the
Union's claim in relation to locomotive drivers recruited prior to
The Court further recommends that in order to avoid further
misunderstanding the parties meet to agree a new system for
payment of wages.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th May, 1991 Evelyn Owens
J.F. / M.O'C. _______________