Labour Court Database
File Number: CD94441
Case Number: LCR14552
Section / Act: S26(3)
Parties: TEAM AER LINGUS - and - CRAFT GROUP OF UNIONS;SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION;TECHNICAL SUPERVISORS' COMMITTEE
Dispute arising from the Company's rationalisation proposals.
The Recommendation and the clarification of the 25th. November,1994 is
contained in the full document.
Division: Ms Owens Mr Keogh Mr Rorke
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD94441 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR14552
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(3) INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
TEAM AER LINGUS
CRAFT GROUP OF UNIONS
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
TECHNICAL SUPERVISORS' COMMITTEE
1. Dispute arising from the Company's rationalisation proposals.
2. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 15th of
August, 1994, in accordance with Section 26(3) of the
Industrial Relations Act, 1990. Prior to the referral to the
Court, the dispute had been the subject of direct discussions
and negotiations between the parties, and the following
(i) Special Tribunal ( non-Craft grades ) : adjudication
March 22nd, 1994;
(ii) Labour Relations Commission-appointed committee on
productivity - April, 1994;
(iii) Labour Relations Commission conciliation conferences
- June, 1994;
(iv) Enquiry under the auspices of the Labour Relations
Commission in accordance with Section 38 of the 1990
Act - June, 1994;
(v) Joint Oireachtas Committee hearing - June 28th, 1994;
(vi) Irish Congress of Trade Unions intervention leading
to the report by an Independent Board of Assessors.
Expert analysis was carried out by various assessors, as
(i) For the Company:- Stoy Hayward,
(ii) For Crafts' Unions:- Fielding - Flynn and
(iii) For Joint Oireachtas
Committee:- Davy Stockbrokers,
(iv) For I.C.T.U. process:- Agreed Board of
The Court, therefore, had a considerable amount of supporting
documentation from all the parties. In addition, all parties
made extensive written submissions to the Court, at the
hearing. These included a further financial analysis from
the Craft Unions.
There is no dispute between the parties as to the crisis now
facing the Company. There is an acceptance that this crisis
must be addressed as a matter of urgency if the Company is to
have any chance of surviving in a market that is changing and
intensely competitive. The Company's present cost of #44 per
man-hour is considerably out of line with the man-hour cost
of #28 to #34 the customer is prepared to pay in an
'over-capacity' market. The changes necessary to deal with a
problem of this magnitude are far greater than would be the
case in a normal industrial relations situation and could not
be dealt with under the Tradesmans Agreement as was suggested
by the Craft Unions. All parties agree that change is
necessary - the nature and extent of the change and the
financial implication of those changes for the employees is
the essence of the dispute. The current position where work
results in losses is clearly unsustainable.
As referred to above, the I.C.T.U. commissioned an
independent assessment by a Board of Assessors agreed by the
Company and Unions. In paragraph 4.5 of their report, they
make the following statements (inter alia):
"There is evidence that management failed to manage and
the workforce withdrew their consent to be managed"
"A 'blame' culture predominates Team".
Following its own meeting with the parties, the Court formed
the view that the above statements are well-founded. The
Court, however, believes that recrimination over past
mistakes by both sides, whilst understandable, does not help
the current climate of industrial relations. Indeed, if the
Company is to survive and if the changes the Court recommends
are implemented, a totally new approach from management and
staff will be required. Constant allocating of "blame" will
only lead to more mistrust and will pollute the working
environment at a time when total co-operation is essential.
The Court urges the parties to put history behind them and
face the challenge of the future in a new spirit of
The Court held joint hearings with all parties on the 16th
Separate hearings were held with management, and with the
unions (together and separately), as follows:-
17th August, 1994 i) with Company,
ii) with all unions together,
iii) with all unions separately;
18th August, 1994 i) with Company,
ii) with Crafts' Unions,
iii) with S.I.P.T.U.
iv) with the Technical
The Court was asked to consider two approaches to achieving
an acceptable labour cost per hour. This exposed the Court
to further arguments of a financial nature between which it
is asked to choose, as a means of resolving the financial
problems of the Company. The Court notes that deeper
arguments in this financial area were considered by the
independent assessors and their conclusion was that the
Company's approach to solving the crisis in the Company was
correct and alternative proposals were not sufficient to
achieve the results which would put the Company into profit.
The labour costs identified by management are as a result of
this approach. Management requires changes from all its
employees to achieve its objectives. On the other hand, the
alternative approach proposed by the unions argues that
sufficient change has already been agreed which, together
with a more pro-active approach to marketing and sales, will
achieve the same result.
The Court has come to the conclusion that the approach
proposed by the group of unions is founded on the procedures
and practices of the past which clearly did not achieve the
required results and it is not convinced that a variation of
this approach is sufficient to bring labour cost down to a
targeted figure of between #28 and #34 per man-hour.
The Court would say that management did not exercise control
of the enterprise in the past but it would be simplistic to
say that they alone are responsible for the crisis in the
Company - that responsibility must be shared. Control must
be vested in them now and the Court believes that
management's approach to labour cost reduction should be
accepted by the Unions.
The Court's terms of reference are as set out in para 2.5 of
the Congress document:
"2.5 In respect of the cost base of the Company the process
would have full regard to the need for the immediate
implementation of measures needed to achieve
competitiveness in the short and long term. In
particular all parties would address the means by which:
1. Leave, working hours and attendance will match
seasonal work and business demands;
2. A pay freeze will be operated;
3. Overtime and pay elements will be rationalised;
4. Temporary and Contract work will contribute to
meeting peak demands or specialist requirements;
5. Flexible working arrangements/practices, including
deployment will be instituted;
6. A front line management structure will be put in
7. Full use of present and future I.T./production
management systems and approvals will be
The Court sets out below its recommendations on the various
issues in dispute.
The Court does not recommend the application of a 10% cut in basic
pay as proposed by the Company. The Court does, however,
recommend a pay freeze (including increments due) to July, 1996.
The Court is aware that a similar pay freeze to July, 1995 has
been implemented in the Airline. The Court considers it
necessary, in the present circumstances, where Team has lost
contracts and where this protracted dispute has further affected
the chances of survival of the Company, to extend the period to
July, 1996. It is the Court's understanding that pay increases in
Aer Lingus and Team have not been implemented at the same time in
the past and that Team staff have had an advantage over Airline
The Company's proposals are set out on Page 26 of its submission
to the Court. The Court recommends that existing rates remain
unchanged and that qualification for night duty payments be as
(a) Staff working night duty as the only shift on their normal
roster will be paid permanent night duty allowance;
(b) Staff working night duty as part of a roster containing other
shifts will be paid a normal night duty allowance.
BANK/COMPANY HOLIDAY PAYMENTS:
Two days' compensation - 1 day's extra pay and 1 day in lieu.
Lieu time to be allocated at management's discretion. The "New
Intake" agreement covering operatives and clerical staff in Team,
recruited since 1988, to remain in force until they have completed
5 years' service. Staff in this category will receive one day's
extra payment as compensation and will not accrue leave in
The Court does not accept the management proposal to reduce the
premium for overtime working. The Court takes the view that, if
management is to take control of its allocation, then, if overtime
is required, it should be paid for at the existing premium. The
employees, for their part, must recognise that, where overtime is
called for and individuals are assigned, they must attend for work
at the times required.
It would not be logical, in the Court's view, either to provide
overtime above its absolute need or to provide overtime for
numbers greater than required for the task in hand and the Court
would support the proposals to eliminate these practices in the
interest of controlling costs.
The practice of paying meal allowances for staff, who, on
completion of their duty, agree to remain on overtime, will be
Where employees are required to travel to job-assignments, payment
will be made at flat rate.
In summary, on pay issues, the Court is not recommending any
reduction in rates of pay. The Court believes that careful
control of overtime and proper use of rosters will effect the
required reduction in payroll costs. While the Court recognises
that these proposals will delay the projected recovery period,
nevertheless, the Court considers them essential to the resolution
of the dispute.
The Court considers it essential to restate that the Company does
not wish to have "Seasonal Workers". Its objective is to retain
year-round employment for workers with 52 weeks' pay per year.
It must be understood that the arranging of the work patterns
comes within the control of management and that the above
proposals will affect only those departments in which the work
flow demands this type of work patterns. The Court recognises
the need for the introduction of flexible working patterns to meet
existing business demands and recommends as follows:-
(1) (a) For peak periods of up to 30 weeks p.a., staff may be
rostered to alternative five and six day working weeks
on the basis of an 88-hour fortnight. A notional
premium of time plus a half should be implemented with
regard to hours between 80 and 88 per fortnight in the
The practical application of this premium should be as
8 hours credited towards summer leave to be accumulated
in days only and to be rostered off en block in the
valley periods to suit the respective business support
unit. The further four hours to be paid fortnightly.
Should operational demands prevent management from
allocating all seasonal leave then the balance
outstanding will be paid to staff by 30th September.
Time above 88 hours per fortnight to be paid at
appropriate overtime rate;
(b) For the valley periods, staff may be rostered 40 hours
per week with overtime hours above 40 to be paid at
(2) The Company will compensate for Bank/Company Holiday working
by allowing two days' compensation - one day's extra pay and
one day in lieu. The "lieu" days thus accrued will be
converted into seasonal leave at flat time in relevant areas
and allocated as shown above. This will not apply to staff
recruited under the "New Intake" agreement.
All categories, where applicable:-
The current productivity scheme will cease immediately. When the
Company returns to viability, discussions should be held with the
Unions on a future scheme based on Company performance. The Court
recommends that the parties agree to address this issue not later
than 3 years from the date of acceptance of this Recommendation.
In addition, the Court recommends that arrears of productivity
money due to any group will not be paid but will be subject to
review in 3 years' time and in light of the Company's then
DEMARCATION AND WORK PRACTICES:
The Court is convinced that the elimination of restrictive
practices is essential to the Company's survival and, accordingly,
the Court recommends that all groups agree in principle to the
total elimination of demarcation between all categories (unless
prohibited by Technical/Professional qualification requirements).
This issue is of major concern to the Unions. The Irish labour
market has traditionally operated strict lines of demarcation
between the different levels of skill. It is a sensitive issue
and, if the Company is to achieve its objective of totally
eliminating demarcation between all the categories involved in
this dispute, this elimination must be implemented with a high
degree of sensitivity and recognition of the genuine fears of the
workers. It must also be recognised that it is a two-way process
with employees working up and down as required. The Court, in
particular, was mindful of the fears of the General Operatives who
see the elimination of their traditional promotional outlets. The
Company have assured the Court that many of these outlets will
remain, e.g. stores and clerical. The Court also welcomes the
Company's proposals to introduce an Adult Apprenticeship Scheme
(referred to further below). The question of training and
re-training must be addressed if demarcation is not to remain a
controversial issue. The Court, accordingly, recommends the
setting up of an in-house training committee with both Union and
Company representation to examine and recommend on the ongoing
training needs of the employees.
Subject to the provision of the Holidays (Employees) Act, 1973,
the management will determine the times at which annual leave will
be taken. However, it is to be understood that up to 10 working
days will be taken in the winter peak period and a minimum of 10
working days will be taken in the summer time.
Accumulated holiday entitlement will be allocated by management in
such a manner as to cause the least disruption to the ability of
the Company to react to commercial demands.
Although management has the right to determine times at which
holiday leave will be taken, every effort should be made to meet
the preferred requested times of leave sought by individual
The Court concurs with the proposal to grant leave for periods of
full days only.
The Court accepts the need for:
(a) Day-working Monday to Saturday with a maximum 5-day week,
Monday to Friday or Tuesday to Saturday.
(b) Variable starting-times to cover the period from 08.00 to
20.00h limited to 4 starting-times, i.e. 08.00, 09.00, 10.00,
(c) Saturday working to be limited to 1 in 2 Saturdays and, when
worked, to attract the payment of the Saturday supplement.
(d) Starting times of 10.00 and 12.00 may only be used twice in
any one week, i.e., at least 3 days must be at the 08.00 or
The proposed changes in Line Maintenance are particularly
difficult for the Unions. A lengthy and detailed list of the
various tasks performed by operatives, supervisors and
craftworkers which the Company consider could become part of a
"Shared Work Zone" was submitted by the Company in response to a
Union request. The Company also attached a list of functions
submitted as part of a S.I.P.T.U. submission to the Special
Tribunal. The Court considers that this document forms the basis
of an orderly elimination of demarcation and should be the subject
of local negotiations. If the principle of demarcation is
accepted as recommended above the local negotiations should
commence immediately with the objective of examining all the areas
listed and setting out a time-frame for the introduction of the
changed work-practices. The Court would envisage these
negotiations being completed within a period of 3 months from date
The Court also recommends that an independent examination on the
future of the "Line Maintenance" operation be commissioned with
provision for Union/Employee participation.
Pending the outcome of this examination, the Company should agree
to retain 15 General Operatives on the Line and that Supervisors
agree to be re-assigned to manual rather than supervisory duties
whilst retaining their supervisory rate. The Court understands
that a number of the Supervisors will be re-assigned to internal
services and will retain their supervisory duties. The Company
has assured the Court that those Supervisors assigned to manual
operations will be re-assigned to supervisory roles as vacancies
occur. The Court also understands that this situation may be
further relieved by applications for voluntary redundancies.
The Court is recommending acceptance of these proposals in the
context of its earlier statement on demarcation, training, etc.
As agreed, there will in future be 2 groups of craft workers in
Team:- Avionic and Mechanical who will overlap as required.
The following work practices will be implemented:
(1) Staff will report to and take direction from a Supervisor/
Manager decided appropriate by the Company;
(2) Supervisors/Manager will be allowed and will agree to carry
out the tasks normally fulfilled by those they supervise.
The Court does not see this as occurring frequently or on a
(3) Additional lieu time for working overtime on rest periods
will be discontinued;
(4) Housekeeping as a function will become the responsibility of
(5) All staff members will be liable for deployment from area to
area in order to meet operational needs;
(6) Staff should be prepared to use any piece of equipment
provided they are suitably trained and appropriately
The Court accepts that the change in Airline schedules requires a
06.00h start. The economic way to meet this requirement is to
introduce an early duty start at or after 06.00h.
Rosters may be changed by Management to suit working requirements
subject to a minimum of 7 days' notice. In the event of an
emergency, the staff will agree to co-operate with Management.
Management, in drawing up rosters, will ensure that there is
reasonable mobility between the shifts and employees should not be
locked-in to any one particular shift.
The accumulation of Sick-leave will cease immediately.
FRONT LINE MANAGEMENT:
The Court agrees with the view that Front Line Management will
form an essential part of the new management team and must be
pro-active in the development and utilisation of systems and
controls necessary to improve the performance and increase the
effectiveness of the Company.
The submission of the supervisors sets out the scope of their
a) The management of people,
b) The control of budgets and
c) The achievement of targets.
These three headings were further expanded as follows:-
They will also be accountable for the development, appraisal,
control and discipline of staff under their control.
They will plan, control, allocate, perform, inspect and
certify work where necessary.
They will be accountable for the overall standard and quality
of the work carried out in their area of responsibility.
They will work alongside staff they manage and will be
accountable for effecting handover on a shift basis.
They will fully exercise approvals where required, will
undertake training and examinations, both business and
technical to ensure competence and approval in the management
and technical discipline necessary to the performance of
Presently, there are two distinct groupings described as Technical
1) Front Line Supervisors who, as part of their function,
2) Specialist staff who are on the Technical Supervisors'
- The Ground School,
- Check Schedulers,
- Quality Assurance Inspectors, etc.
The group described at (1) above have a proposal from management
for a new salary structure more in keeping with their status.
However, whilst this group can agree on the intentions in this
proposal they do not believe that it will reflect their
contribution to the recovery of the Company.
The Court notes that the group described at (2) above will retain
their present pay-structure.
The Court has examined the arguments for and against the new
salary proposal for supervisors and senior supervisors and agrees
that the impact of its wider proposal vis-a-vis the
recommendations as a whole together with the new salary structure
cannot be assessed at present.
However, the Court is sufficiently satisfied that this approach is
the correct one. It is the view of the Court that the salary
scale should be implemented together with the off-the-scale
proposal (#1,500 p.a.), and payment of extra hours at flat time
for 12 months, subject to a review of its operation by the Court
after 12 months.
ADULT APPRENTICESHIP SCHEME:
The Company has submitted a scheme for training some General
Operatives to Craft level. This initiative is to be welcomed.
In the course of the hearing the Union side expressed some concern
as to how the proposed scheme would affect their members. In
particular they were concerned about (a) employees who failed to
qualify and (b) calculating service. The Court has verified with
the Company that:
(a) Where a staff member is chosen for a staff apprenticeship and
subsequently fails to attain the levels necessary to complete
the full duration of the course, he/she can return to his/her
original grade with no loss of seniority. Should a staff
member fail any test which is part of the apprenticeship
scheme he/she will be given an opportunity to repeat the
(b) When a staff member has completed an apprenticeship and has
been accepted as a qualified craftworker, he/she will
immediately begin to amass seniority within the category.
However, his/her seniority within the Company should remain
unchanged, similar to any staff moving to promotional
position with the Company.
The Court accepts that, in order to compete successfully, the
Company needs the facility to employ short-term contract workers
where there is a particular skill/resource shortage. The Court
agrees that, within the limits of existing European Union
Regulations Irish workers should be employed where the required
expertise is available. Only after it has been established to the
contrary should non-nationals be hired.
The Court understands that agreement has been reached on this
issue. This agreement should be implemented immediately.
Person to person communication equipment should be used by all
staff as already agreed.
The "Production Plus" system should be used immediately for:-
1. Recording attendance on/off duty of all staff;
2. Recording and retrieving production data.
The question of immediate equity participation was raised by the
Unions. This was also dealt with by the Independent Board of
Assessors. The Court agrees with the Board's findings. Having
recommended equity participation as in Aer Lingus, the Court
further considers that a scheme for a share in savings similar to
that in Aer Lingus should also be introduced. The time-scale set
in the Aer Lingus scheme would not be practical for Team staff at
this stage. Accordingly, the Court recommends that:
(a) A fund be established equal to 2% of payroll for year
ending 31st March, 1996;
(b) The parties monitor the achievement of the agreed
savings on an ongoing basis, but not less frequently
than once every quarter. Subject to the achievement of
these savings and the full implementation of the agreed
work-practice changes by April, 1996, the Company will
distribute the fund equally as a flat rate payment as
(i) In the case of all permanent full-time and
part-time staff employed on 31/3/'96 on a pro rata
(ii) In the case of temporary staff employed at any
time between April, 1995 and April, 1996 on a pro
rata basis to their service in that period;
(c) The parties agree on a mechanism to independently review
the implementation of the work-practice changes and the
achievement of the cost savings and to report to both
The Court recommends that the Company proposals be accepted
subject to an overriding provision that employees with approvals
will retain at least one. This provision to be paid to existing
staff on a "red-circled" basis.
The Court has listed above various recommendations on particular
items falling within the terms of referral quoted at Page 4 above.
Subject to the acceptance of the Court's Recommendation by all
parties to the dispute, the Court recommends acceptance of the
Company's plan as amended by the same recommendations.
The Court wishes to record its appreciation of the detailed
documentation presented by the parties.
The Court also notes that management have recognised that there is
merit in many of the proposals put forward by the Unions and
intend acting on them.
The Court also wishes to record its appreciation of the fact that
the Company, at the request of the Court, addressed the
difficulties facing the 'laid-off' apprentices.
The Court, in the public interest, further requests the Unions to
call off their protest action whilst balloting their members.
Finally, the Court would expect that the parties, having resolved
this dispute, would concur with the Court that there would be no
victimisation by either party and that any dispute would be
resolved through the use of the normal disputes procedure.
The Recommendation is contained in the full document.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th August, 1994 Evelyn Owens
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to
Mr. Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.
RE: ISSUES ARISING FROM LCR14552
The Labour Court issued Recommendation LCR14552 on the 26th
August, 1994. Clarification of many of the elements contained in
that Recommendation was sought by the Unions, and letters of
clarification were issued on the 7th September, 1994. The Company
and S.I.P.T.U. (following ballot) indicated their acceptance of
the terms of the Recommendation, but the Craft Group of Unions
rejected the Recommendation.
It is worth recalling that, at the time of the original hearing,
Team Aer Lingus was recognised by all as being in financial
difficulties and in need of major changes to work practices and a
substantial reduction in unit cost for the service it offers to
its customers. Indeed, so bad was the financial situation that,
following the rejection of the Recommendation by the Craft Group
of Unions, control of the Company moved into the hands of an
Interim Examiner appointed by the High Court.
Following a second ballot, the Craft Group accepted the
Recommendation and the Interim Examiner was withdrawn by agreement
with the High Court and the management returned to the Company. A
meeting took place between the Company and the Unions at which
arrangements for a return to work were agreed and a further
meeting to review progress was fixed for the 15th November, 1994.
Subsequently, the union side requested a meeting with the Court to
discuss problems which they claimed had arisen regarding the
implementation of the Recommendation and which were the cause of
unrest amongst the workforce. The Court agreed to meet the
parties on 18th November, 1994. A meeting took place with the
parties together, followed by individual sessions with each party.
The Court wishes to make it clear from the outset that this letter
is a response to the many points raised in relation to the
implementation of the Recommendation, as clarified, and does not
alter in any way the content of the said Recommendation. It is
the view of the Court, in fact, that all the terms of the
Recommendation should be implemented as a matter of urgency, and
in the interests of everyone concerned.
The Court recognised that the changes, as they related to work
practices and the variable work patterns, would cause
difficulties, until such time as employees became familiar with
the new ways of work but were convinced that they were necessary
to the needs of the business.
If a full resumption of work could have been implemented following
acceptance of the Court's Recommendation, then there would be less
confusion in TEAM. The Court accepts that a full resumption of
work was not possible because of the loss of business and the
financial difficulties experienced by management. Accordingly,
there was a requirement to have a phased return to work and it
follows that some workers will not, at present, have returned to
work. The Court shares with the Unions their concern in this
regard and will return to this issue later.
Many of the grievances raised by the Union seem to have arisen due
to a failure of communication and a lack of understanding of some
of the issues. There is a difference of opinion between
management and unions regarding communications. There is a
system of direct communications with the workforce and section
meetings are a feature at shop-floor level which brings those
sections up to date on the objective of that sector. However,
there does appear to be a genuinely held view on the Union side
that they are being by-passed. Whether this is accurate or not is
irrelevant for, as long as the Union side hold this view the
establishment of good industrial relations will be impossible.
The Court recognises that massed shop stewards meetings with
management will not produce effective results, particularly
bearing in mind that the Company is only working towards full
employment and is a long way from being viable. Such meetings
will also be impractical.
The Court would suggest that formal information meetings be
programmed on a regular basis between management and full-time
paid officials of the major unions, to allow for a review of
progress and help identify possible flashpoints.
In addition, it was suggested at the meeting of the 18th inst.,
that some "fast track" structure should be put in place which
would deal expeditiously with the type of grievances which were
referred to the Court. The Court is supportive of this idea and
considers that it should be pursued by the Company and Unions.
The Court, for its part, will be available, if requested, to
assist in agreeing terms of reference and to name a suitable
person to act in the professional "ombudsman" role.
At this point, the Court would draw management's attention to its
commitment to appoint a financial advisor to assist staff who have
been laid off to deal with any of their personal financial
problems. This appointment is overdue and should be finalised
Return to Work.
The Court notes that the date of 15th December, 1994, was agreed
by the Company and Unions as the date by which full re-employment
should occur and, should management be unable to absorb all
workers by that time, the workers would have the option of taking
annual leave. This arrangement now meets one of the major Union
Management, for its part, has the major objective of a full order-
book which it believes is necessary to achieve full employment.
It is management's view that potential customers have no intention
of placing their repairs with TEAM if industrial relations
problems result in industrial action. In the Court's discussions
with the union groups, it was clear that they too shared this view
and considered that Articles 4 and 26 of the Trades agreement and
Articles 3 and 17 of the General Operatives agreement, meet this
requirement in full. Article 26 of the Trades agreement which is
the same as Article 17 of the General Operatives agreement and
Article 3 of the General Operatives agreement which is equivalent
to Article 4 of the Trades agreement are quoted below.
(ARTICLE 26 TRADES AGREEMENT:
SETTLEMENT OF GRIEVANCES AND DISPUTES)
Should differences of opinion arise on any matter, whether
or not covered by this Agreement, it is accepted that work
shall not be held up until these differences are resolved
as provided for in 26.2, 26.3, 26.4 and 26.5 below.
Pending, and without prejudice to the ultimate agreement
reached, the Companies will decide on the matter and
employees shall abide by this decision. In such cases, the
Companies will, on request, meet with officers of the Union
or Unions concerned within 48 hours (exclusive of week-ends
26.2 Matters covered by this Agreement during the period of its
a) Matter concerning the interpretation, application or
implementation of this Agreement may be dealt with by
all or any of three channels, i.e., by the individual
employee, by the Shop Steward or by the individual
union or group.
b) Employees: An employee may take up such a matter with
his immediate supervisor. If not satisfied the
employee may take the matter up with the Shift Supt/
Branch Head, who shall give a reply within a period of
48 hours (exclusive of week-ends and holidays). If
still not satisfied he may apply to see the
Maintenance and Overhaul Manager who may deal with the
matter himself or nominate a representative depending
on the circumstances. At any stage in these
proceedings, the employee may decide to refer the
matter to the Shop Stewards.
c) Shop Steward: The Shop Steward shall take such matter
initially to the local Supervisor and if not satisfied
shall take it to the Shift Supt/Branch Head who shall
give a reply within a period of 48 hours (exclusive of
week-ends and holidays). If still not satisfied he
may refer the matter to his Union. Shop Stewards may
refer to the Production Administration Supt for
information regarding regulations, procedure and
d) Decisions conveyed to individual employees or Shop
Stewards in these circumstances shall not constitute a
precedent binding on the Union or the Companies.
e) Union or Group: Such matters raised by an individual
trade union or group with the Staff Relations
Department may be dealt with through correspondence,
discussions or formal meetings. In the event of
failure to reach agreement, the matter shall be
referred for a decision in accordance with Section 33
of the Industrial Relations Act, 1946 and this
decision shall be binding.
26.3 Matters not covered by this Agreement arising during its
a) An employee may, as heretofore, make representations
through supervisory channels on matters which concern
him and which are not covered by this Agreement.
b) Decisions conveyed to individual employees in such
circumstances shall not constitute a precedent binding
on the Unions or on the Companies.
c) Matters not covered by this Agreement arising during
its validity raised by a Union or the group with the Staff Relations Department may be dealt with through
correspondence, discussion or formal meetings, as
appropriate. In the event of failure to reach
agreement, the matter shall be dealt with in
accordance with an agreed Conciliation Machinery.
Failing agreement through such Conciliation, the
matter shall be resolved by an agreed Arbitrator, or
in the event of failure to agree on an Arbitrator, one
appointed by the Labour Court.
26.4 Determination of scope of the Agreement:
If a disagreement arises whether or not a specific matter
is covered by this Agreement, it will be referred by the
Union or the Group and the Companies to the Labour Court
for a ruling.
26.5 No Strike/No Lock-Out during validity of this Agreement:
a) It is the intention of the parties to this Agreement
that the procedures set forth herein shall serve as a
means of peaceful settlement for all disputes that may
arise between them and therefore regardless of whether
an unfair practice or a breach of the Agreement is
1) the Companies shall neither cause nor permit a
lock-out during the lifetime of this Agreement:
2) neither the Union nor the Group nor the employees
covered hereunder shall engage in a strike,
sit-down, walk-out, stoppage, slow-down,
curtailment of work or overtime for any reason
during the life of this Agreement.
b) Breaches of the Agreement are dealt with in Article
c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, employees who, on the
instructions of their union(s) do not pass official
pickets of other employees of the Companies shall not
be deemed to be in breach of this Agreement. "
(ARTICLE 3 GENERAL OPERATIVES AGREEMENT:
UNION MEMBERSHIP AND SHOP STEWARD REPRESENTATION)
"3.1 It is agreed that all employees covered by this Agreement
shall be members of one of the signatory trade unions to
3.2 Each trade union shall provide annually the Company with an
up-to-date list of the names of its accredited Shop
Stewards. Only persons so designated will be accepted by
the Company as local representatives of the Unions.
3.3 Designated Shop Stewards shall be allowed time off duty to
attend meetings at which the Company is represented, but
not for attending any other meetings. After a meetings has
been arranged a Shop Steward may not change his duty roster
other than with the prior approval of the appropriate
supervisor. Where a Shop Steward is away from his place of
work to attend meetings, there shall be no requirement on
the Company to replace him either through re-allocation of
staff or overtime working.
3.4 Before leaving his place of work to deal with union
matters, including attendance at meetings, a Shop Steward
shall inform his supervisor, who shall normally agree to
let him go, unless compelling circumstances otherwise
require. A Shop Steward shall give as much notice as
3.5 When a Shop Steward wishes to have a discussion concerning
union matters with an employee in any work area, he shall
request permission from the local supervisor.
3.6 The Company shall consider on the merits request for
facilities to hold meetings among accredited Shop Stewards.
No meetings of employees concerning trade union matters may
be held on the Company's premises or during working hours
other than with the Company's specific authority. "
The Court wishes to record that all groups on the Union side gave
a full and absolute commitment to abiding by the terms of the
above-mentioned Articles. This will ensure "industrial peace" in
the workplace and in turn will restore customer confidence.
Before dealing with the list of complaints made by the Unions, the
Court wishes to express its concern at the delay in the setting up
of the Joint Training Committee and the start up of the
recommended Line-Maintenance review.
These were two very important issues addressed by the Court and
should be proceeded with immediately. The Court's recommendation
on the Adult Apprenticeship Scheme should also be addressed.
The Court recognises and urges management to recognise also that
the implementation of positive elements (for the workers) of the
Recommendation must not lag unreasonably behind those that have a
negative effect. The Recommendation must be accepted as a package
with all its elements having equal relevance. With reference to
the line-maintenance, the Court wishes to record that, at the
request of the Court, management postponed for one week
implementation of the reduction to 15 AMAs on line maintenance.
In light of the Court's views expressed above, this reduction
should now proceed.
The Court sets out below its view on the various complaints made
by the Unions.
Return to Work: Selection Process.
The Union Group claim that the Company victimised a number of
workers whose service should have entitled them to be selected to
return but who were not called back in spite of the fact that
people with less service were selected to return. S.I.P.T.U. also
claimed that because 36 AMAs (40%) are still laid off, these
workers were victimised. Management totally refutes any
allegation of victimisation. The criteria used by management and
accepted by the Unions at a meeting on the 4th October, 1994, was
that staff would be accepted by crew, by section, by ability to do
the job and, when all else was equal, by seniority. It is clear
that these criteria might lead to some workers who have less
service than others being brought back first. However, the Court
is satisfied that mistakes were made in the selection process and
complaints were not examined as quickly as they should have been.
If any such cases are still outstanding they should be dealt with
S.I.P.T.U. claimed that #100 was advanced to the first group of
workers to return and that this facility was not made available to
employees who returned subsequently. Management explained that it
had responded in a letter to S.I.P.T.U., that the #100 advanced
was not intended for all staff returning. It was paid, during
their first week, to those who would have had to wait up to three
weeks for pay, the intention being that they be paid a sum for
three days of the first week. The Company confirmed to the Court
that this facility is available to all those returning in similar
Staff Disciplined for Leaving Work Station.
The Union Group claimed that the members concerned left to attend
a meeting and did so with permission. Management dispute this and
the Court was informed that this matter was currently being dealt
with under the appeals procedure.
Definition of Housekeeping.
The Court, in its clarification document, endeavoured to define
Housekeeping as clearly as possible. It would appear that
management went outside this definition immediately after the
first stage of the return to work, because of the need for a major
clean-up and in order to get back "Approvals" and to impress
prospective customers. Management has assured the Court that this
was a once-off event and will not occur again.
It was also claimed by S.I.P.T.U. that a manager deep-cleaned the
floor in the Wood and Plastics Shop. If this is the case, the
Court considers such action to be outside the definition given by
it, and should not be repeated.
Shared Work Zone.
The Court emphasises the assertion in its Recommendation, that
this change should be implemented "with a high degree of
sensitivity and recognition of the genuine fears of the workers".
The Court also acknowledges that this item was considered by
management to be essential and fundamental. All items contained
in the lists submitted should be implemented in full, with
immediate effect, and any training required should be provided
immediately. The parties concerned should meet as a matter of
urgency to detail the full implementation of this Recommendation.
Cabin Appearance/Quality Quest.
It is the view of the Court that these workers cannot be exempt
from the broad thrust of the Recommendation which, in general,
requires staff to be more flexible and efficient.
The Court has received the following assurance from the Company
with regard to the Unions' concerns on this point:-
(1) No further double deductions will be made in 1994;
(2) Double deductions will commence in January 1995 and
continue until full service has been bought back;
(3) Employees may opt out of (2) above and work out the
additional time when they reach retirement;
(4) The Company will make special arrangements, where
necessary, with the Trustees of the Pension Fund, which
will cover the requirement to pay all contributions by
the 31st of March, 1995. This arrangement will not
alter the terms of (2) above for the employees.
Change of Shift.
On this issue, the Court would remind the parties of the paragraph
in LCR14552 which deals specifically with Shift Working and urges
all parties to abide by the terms set out.
Seasonality was introduced into the work structure to give the
Company the ability to maximise its reaction to customer service
requirements and is essential to avoid delays in returning
aircraft to service. Even in the present short-time working
situation, the Court would consider it a necessity and would
support its use where appropriate.
Promotion by Staff Vacancy Notice (S.V.N).
The Court would urge that the two Stores Assistants on the panel
formed to fill promotional vacancies be appointed to suitable
vacancies as they arise. Arrangements should also be made for the
assessment of those who have not yet been assessed.
Senior Supervisory Position (Internal Services).
The Union wishes this position to be filled by the appointment of
a Senior Supervisor from Aircraft Overhaul. Management for their
part explained that the position was expanded to cover a broader
range of functions and that the grade for this position is
Executive level. The Court was assured that the position has been
advertised through the S.V.N. system and that the selection
process is underway.
The Company has informed the Court that the "full day" leave will
not apply in the current year where employees have half days
25th of November, 1994.