INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY MANDATE)
1. Appeal against the Rights Commissioners Recommendation CW375/95.
2. The worker commenced employment in the National Engineering and Electrical Trade Union (NEETU) in May, 1975, as a clerical employee. NEETU amalgamated with the Electrical Trade Union (ETA) to form TEEU in 1992.
Following the formation of the TEEU, the unions representing the clerical workers, SIPTU and IDATU, now known as MANDATE, raised the issue of a pension scheme for clerical staff in the TEEU. In January, 1995 the TEEU presented a pension proposal plan for consideration. MANDATE rejected the proposal and the issue was referred to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). As the parties did not reach agreement, the issue was referred to a Rights Commissioner and a hearing took place on 11th March, 1996. Following the hearing, the TEEU made a formal proposal to the worker concerned which would include, on her retirement, the following - a lump sum of £6,253.50 and a pension payment of £69.36 per week, increasing at a rate of 3% per annum. The Rights Commissioner issued his Recommendation as follows:-
"I recommend that the worker accepts the proposal by TEEU
in settlement of this dispute."
The worker was named in the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation.
MANDATE appealed the Recommendation to the Labour Court on 9th May, 1996 in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on 24th June, 1996. The pension scheme has been referred to the Equality Service of the Labour Relations Commission and a recommendation is awaited.
3. 1. The instrument of amalgamation between NEETU and the ETU provided that the terms and conditions relating to tenure of office, pay, superannuation and conditions of service would be no less favourable in the TEEU as a result of the amalgamation. In 1982, a worker who was employed by NEETU retired at age 78. In the absence of a pension scheme she received payment of half of her salary until her death. The worker concerned should receive the same benefits. The worker's current salary is £284.25 per week after 21 years of service.
2. Two former officials of NEETU who retired received pension benefits, plus redundancy lump sums which provided for 2.5 weeks' pay per year of service. If the same formula applied to the worker she would receive a lump sum of £14,923.13. The worker was excluded from the pension scheme in NEETU, and also from the TEEU's proposed scheme in 1995, as she was too near to retirement age.
4. 1. The claim by SIPTU and IDATU for the introduction of a pension scheme was inappropriate at the time. The TEEU was going through a transitional period of amalgamation. The question of a pension scheme had to be regarded as a newly initiated scheme, as it was not part of the conditions of employment of the workers of either of the former unions. The TEEU did present a pension plan in January, 1995.
2. The worker concerned is over the age to be eligible for entry to a pension scheme. The worker was advised that she would not be treated less favourably than those who had access to the pension scheme. At the Rights Commissioner's hearing settlement terms were reached. The Rights Commissioner recommended that the worker accept the terms, but they were rejected by MANDATE.
The Court has considered all of the issues raised by the parties in their oral and written submissions and the subsequent information made available.
The Court notes that the claimant is not included in the Union Pension Scheme and did not have pension entitlements prior to the merging of the two unions.
The pension, in respect of the claimant, is as may be agreed between the parties. This, the Court notes, will require to be funded from union revenue. The Court has examined all of the figures made available and finds that the pension arrangements proposed in this case are in line with the pension arrangements with former Union officials.
Accordingly, it is the decision of the Court that the Union (TEEU) pension proposals be accepted
With regard to the severance proposals, the Court finds that there was a severance package available to staff on the merging of the two unions and for a period of time thereafter. The claimant did not avail of this package. Accordingly, the Court does not concede that the terms of their arrangements should be made available to the claimant.
The Rights Commissioner's recommendation made available the statutory entitlements of the claimant under the Redundancy Acts. These, however, due to the passage of time, are no longer available.
Further, the Court notes the employee is still in employment.
It is the view of the Court that if the employment of the claimant is to be terminated the parties at that time should consider severance terms, if any, that are to be applied.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th September, 1996______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.