INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
BRITISH MIDLAND AIRWAYS
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Terms and conditions of employment of Union members: the refusal of the Company to negotiate with the Union.
2. Since April, 1995, SIPTU has sought to negotiate with the Company on a range of issues on behalf of 18 of the 31 Clerical and Administrative staff based in the Company's offices at Dublin Airport. The Company refused to negotiate with the Union and declined to attend at conciliation at the Labour Relations Commission. The Company's position is that it recognises APEX, part of the GMB Union, as the appropriate Union for its clerical and administration staff Company-wide. (At present the Company has an arrangement with ATGWU, which represents 45 ramp staff, regarding the resolution of difficulties concerning local issues. This arrangement allows for the attendance of a Union representative at relevant Company conferences in Britain). Having failed to reach agreement with the Company, SIPTU referred the matter to the Labour Court, on the 11th of October, 1996, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court investigated the dispute on the 16th of December, 1996.
3. 1. The Union has made every effort through normal good industrial relation practices, to represent its members in British Midland. The Union has also raised ongoing industrial relations problems, with the Station Manager for the Company, in Dublin. Having had numerous meetings and contacts with him, the Union was of the view that the issue of recognition was not, in fact, in dispute.
2. The Company has been, and still is, prepared to meet with SIPTU, concerning certain industrial relations issues which affect the staff in question (details supplied to the Court). The Union members concerned are anxious that the Union should be in a position to negotiate freely on their behalf on any issues pertaining to their pay and conditions of employment.
3. SIPTU is the main union in the Civil Aviation industry. The negative reaction received from the Company in response to its efforts to represent its members is unacceptable.
4. 1. All British Midland Clerical and Administrative staff are covered by the Company's agreement with APEX. There are over 1800 such staff in British Midland, of whom 31 (under 2%) are employed in Dublin.
2. APEX is an established Trade Union within the Airline Industry and has considerable experience negotiating terms and conditions for Clerical and Administrative staff - 25 years in the case of British Midland.
3. APEX is part of the GMB Union which is affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and is represented in the Republic of Ireland.
4. There are no formal disputes between British Midland and its Clerical and Administrative staff concerning the terms and conditions which apply in Dublin.
5. It is essential that British Midland maintains flexible team working across its entire network if it is to be commercially successful in an international market. This flexibility would be jeopardised by adopting differing and divisive terms and conditions for similarly graded staff in different locations.
During the Court hearing the Company clarified that it was prepared to continue with the arrangement for dealing with industrial relations issues in Dublin that existed prior to the Company letter of 27th September, 1996. It was also prepared to have the same facilities to attend relevant conferences in Britain, as applied to another union in Dublin, made available to SIPTU.
The Court recommends that the parties review this position in 12 months' time, if necessary.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
15th of January, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.