INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Dispute concerning the restoration of an "acting up" allowance.
2. The dispute concerns a worker who has been in receipt of an allowance for a number of years. She has been paid the allowance of 3 hours per week overtime for undertaking additional duties. The allowance was withdrawn by Management in July, 1995 following a review of gradings in Teagasc. A total of 29 promotions were implemented but in return new work practices and technology were accepted and allowances were eliminated. The worker's post was not upgraded in the review. The Union claims that the worker sustained a loss of earnings amounting to £2,300 per annum because Teagasc withdrew the allowance. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 29th February, 1996. Subsequently local discussions were held between the parties but agreement was not possible and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 30th October, 1996. A Court hearing was held on the 18th April, 1997, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The allowance paid to the worker, in respect of undertaking the duties of Manager Administration 2, amounted to £2,300 extra per annum. Following the regrading review, Management stated that the allowance paid to the worker would not be affected. To lose such a substantive payment, despite agreement on its retention, has caused the worker financial hardship.
2. Despite the withdrawal of the allowance the post held by the worker still retains the original duties and responsibilities. In 1991, Management recommended that the post should be graded at the next level rather than remain on an allowance basis.
3. The Union understood that the allowance would be retained by the worker. It is totally unacceptable that Management would agree, at local level discussions, to retain the allowance and subsequently simply deny the agreement.
4. 1. Overtime working has been reduced significantly on an organisational basis without compensation. Overtime is not a staff entitlement but is strictly granted on a work needs basis.
2. The decision to cease overtime in the worker's case was taken on economic grounds in the context of implementing 20 upgradings in the clerical/administrative area. The agreement arrived at with the Union accepted the elimination of allowances and a reduction in overtime.
3. Any decision to exclude the worker from the 'pool' from which savings would have to be achieved would adversely affect other staff.
4. During discussions on the proposed agreement an assurance was given by Management that childrens' allowances paid to ex A.F.T. staff would not be affected. The claimant's overtime limit of 3 hours per week had erroneously been referred to as an "allowance" and the Union assumed that the commitment with regard to the childrens' allowance also applied in the worker's case. This was never Management's intention.
5. The Authority has treated the worker no differently to other Teagasc staff, who also lost allowances/overtime.
It is the Court's view that the agreement was accepted by the Union on the understanding that the claimant's allowance which had existed for 7 years was unaffected and would continue to be paid.
The Company equally understood that the overtime payment arrangement would cease as part of the regrading arrangements.
In the circumstances of this case the Court recommends that a payment of two years loss of the overtime payment be paid in full and final settlement of this case.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th April, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.