Labour Court Database
File Number: CD94622
Case Number: LCR14637
Section / Act: S26(1)
Parties: DUBLIN CORPORATION - and - IMPACT;SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Dispute in the Housing Maintenance Department.
Division: Mr McGrath Mr Brennan Mr Rorke
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD94622 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR14637
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
1. Dispute in the Housing Maintenance Department.
2. In October 1994 the Corporation decided to redeploy 29
general operatives from the Housing Maintenance Department to
general operative duties in other departments of the
Corporation. The Unions objected and an industrial dispute
occurred following the suspension of some workers. The
dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a
conciliation conference was held on the 28th October, 1994.
No agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the
Labour Court on the 3rd November, 1994. On the 4th November,
1994 the Court put forward the following proposals which were
accepted by the parties pending a full Labour Court hearing:-
1. That 10 employees be redeployed on a voluntary basis.
2. That the remaining employees resume work in the Housing
3. That all industrial action cease and strike notice be
deferred pending the outcome of investigation of the
dispute by the Labour Court.
The Labour Court investigated the dispute on the 6th
3. 1. The Unions are not opposed to the movement of staff
within Corporation departments. Such transfers have
taken place in the past. The Corporation undertook
little or no consultation with the Unions on these
issues and imposed transfers without meaningful
2. The Unions are willing to discuss changes with a view to
improving efficiency. A Working Party was established
in June, 1993 to examine the Housing Maintenance Service
and make improvements. While some meetings took place
none have been held in recent times. The Corporation's
reorganisation proposals could have been referred for
discussion to the Working Party but Management refused
to do so.
3. Following the Labour Court proposals of 4th November,
the Unions sought seven volunteers to transfer to other
Corporation Departments. Management however
compulsorily redeployed three extra workers contrary to
the Labour Court proposals which provided only for
4. The Unions are still opposed to moving staff out of the
Housing Maintenance Section. There should be no more
transfers until redeployment arises from a negotiated
agreement with the Unions either through the Working
Party or through restructuring proposals.
5. The Unions are committed to providing a better service
which can only come about by implementing a wide range
of new work practices. Agreement on these can only be
achieved through discussion and not through Management's
decision to compulsorily move workers to other
4. 1. The workers concerned are being assigned to general
operative duties for which they were recruited with no
loss of pay. No general operative is recruited on the
basis of being assigned solely to one department. The
workers are being redeployed because there is no
productive work for them in the Housing Maintenance
2. The Corporation has a stated obligation to deliver a
broad and diverse range of services to the public in the
most cost effective and efficient manner.
3. An eroding income base with an ever increasing
expenditure requirement has taxed the Corporation's
ability to maintain a reasonable level of services.
Payroll costs now represent a significant percentage of
the entire revenue expenditure. Staff must be deployed
in a way most beneficial to the Corporation.
4. The Unions' proposal that the Corporation seek
volunteers indicates their acceptance of a surplus staff
situation in the Housing Maintenance Department.
Management has engaged in comprehensive discussions with
the Unions over the past year, yet a surplus of staff
remain in Housing Maintenance incurring increasing
expenditure on the housing budget.
5. Even though the Corporation is overstaffed in a number
of areas, including Housing Maintenance, Management did
not propose redundancies either voluntary or compulsory
but attempted to maintain viable employment against an
extremely difficult financial background.
6. The general operatives who were requested to move were
the most junior eligible workers in Housing Maintenance.
Management does not accept that the question of
deployment in this instance was a matter for the Working
Party, because it is a normal day to day function of
Management operating in an efficient and cost effective
way, subject to staff being treated in a fair and
The Court has fully considered all of the views expressed by the
Parties in their oral and written submissions.
The Court finds, recognising the current severe financial
constraints and the demands on local authority resources, that the
Corporation must be permitted to redeploy general operative staff
to other Departments to ensure services required are delivered in
the most efficient and cost effective way.
This redeployment should be carried out following reasonable
discussion and consultation with all concerned.
In the case before the Court it was noted that it was the
intention of the Corporation to redeploy a number of general
operatives to other Departments on the grounds that productive
work was not available for them in the Housing Maintenance
Department and the service could be delivered to meet the needs of
the Corporation and their tenants with a reduced workforce.
Whilst recognising the right of the Corporation to so deploy its
general operative staff the Court considers that, given the
substantial reduction in manning in the Housing Maintenance
Department which was envisaged, it was incumbent on management in
consultation with the staff to provide sufficient information (1)
to justify the magnitude of, and (2) to explain the implications
of, such reduction for the remainder of the staff and (3) to agree
appropriate arrangements for the redeployment.
The Court considers that it was all the more necessary to have the
fullest disclosure of information, given that the proposed
reduction in staffing levels was being proposed at a time when a
Working Party had been established by the Corporation to examine
the service with a view to improving its efficiency and
effectiveness within the financial resources available. Further,
the Corporation in response to a pay claim had indicated the
principal measures they would be seeking as a trade off. Both of
these exercises had implications for the manning levels of the
It is clear to the Court that both parties accept the need for
change if employment is to be safeguarded and a cost effective and
efficient service is to be provided.
Accordingly, with a view to effecting the necessary changes,
providing a cost effective and efficient service and developing
and improving the Industrial Relations climate, the Court
recommends the matter be resolved as follows:-
1. The Working Party be reconvened to specifically deal with the
issue of Manning Levels in the Housing Maintenance
Department, (all the necessary information regarding the
issue to be made available to the members of the Working
Party) and to make proposals regarding staffing and the
redeployment of surplus staff on or before 31st January,
2. The negotiations on the pay claim to be completed as
expeditiously as possible.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th December, 1994 Tom McGrath
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to
Mr. Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.