INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL BUS AND RAIL UNION)
Chairman: Mr McGrath
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
2. Spare drivers operate over a 5-week or a 6-week cycle and work an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes per day. In 1995 a driver submitted a claim to the Company for payment of 39 hours and 58 minutes' overhours worked between 1993 and 1995. He had worked a total of 3,685 hours and 36 minutes. The Company maintained that he had been paid for 39 hours per week, a total of 3,664 hours and that the overhours worked therefore amounted to 21 hours and 36 minutes. A Rights Commissioner investigated the claim and recommended in favour of the worker on the 10th October, 1995.
The NBRU and SIPTU then submitted claims on behalf of all spare drivers employed by the Company. Following local discussions and an examination of hours worked by a sample of drivers in each depot, the issue of overhours working was found to apply to staff in Clontarf Garage only. Further examinations of duty sheets gave an average of 40 overhours worked per driver. The workers initially refused the Company's offer of payment for 40 hours at time and a half but, following a ballot, agreement was reached on payment of 60 hours, or pro-rata, to apply from 1991 to 1995.
One worker has refused to accept the majority ballot vote and claims that the Company should calculate his hours worked from 1991 to 1995. The Company has refused to do so on the grounds that the issue was resolved on a collective basis by agreement with the Unions. The Company declined an invitation to attend a Rights Commissioner's investigation and the Union referred the issue to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court investigated the dispute on the 22nd May, 1997.
3. 1. The worker concerned objects strenuously to the ballot vote which decided that he should be paid for 60 hours as he believes that he has worked more than 60 hours. He maintains that no individual or group can dictate that he should not be paid for time worked. His hours worked should be calculated immediately over an agreed period.
2. Many spare drivers believe that they are currently working more than the agreed hours. No system has been introduced to calculate the amount of hours worked in each 5-week cycle. An efficient, computerised system would immediately identify any monies due to staff and would prevent a recurrence of the present dispute.
4. 1. The Unions took a conscious decision to deal with the overhours payment claim on an industrial relations and collective basis and not by individual assessment. All drivers balloted on and accepted the Company's offer and payment has been made.
2. The manual research work involved in assessing each driver's hours worked is considerable. The previous examination of drivers' records showed that some drivers had worked more than 60 hours while others had worked less. If the worker's claim is successful, and if it is found that he worked more than 60 hours, the Company will be faced with knock-on claims from all other spare drivers. The issue of recouping overpayments made to staff would also arise.
The Court has considered all of the issues raised by the parties in their oral and written submissions.
The Court has considered the dispute under the Industrial Relations Acts and finds in this case the parties, Union and Employer, entered and accepted an agreement voluntarily.
The Company's payment to the employee here concerned was made in accordance with the terms of that agreement.
Accordingly the Court does not recommend concession of the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th June, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.