INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
TEAM AER LINGUS
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Right to opt off approvals function (or be paid).
2. The dispute before the Court concerns 3 employees employed as Technical Storespersons by the Company. Following training, the employees concerned were issued with Personal Authorisation Certificates (PACs) authorising them to certify that repaired parts and rotables are approved and considered serviceable for release from the stores.
The Union claims that the workers should be paid an extra allowance for this work (£33.00 per week) as are other categories of staff; and also, that they have the right to relinquish this function at any time if they so wish as do other categories of staff. The Union also claims that the right to relinquish is in accordance with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) procedures.
The Company claims that Labour Court Recommendation LCR14552 provided for the restructuring of the Company to allow it return to viability. Part of the restructuring involved the elimination of restrictive practices and the ability of staff who are trained and competent to do the tasks required of them.
It also explained that the system had changed since 1994. Parts now come in with a certificate of release to service. The parts were no longer technically inspected (which craftsmen did) but visually inspected by a Technical Storesperson to ensure that there is no outward sign of damage. The workers concerned are not entitled to any extra payment for this work.
Other areas in the Company such as Aircraft Planning also involve an element of inspection but staff in these areas, do not receive extra remuneration.
The Union rejects the Company's arguments and claims that the workers concerned are entitled to be paid the £33.00 per week which was formerly paid to craftsmen and inspectors for this work.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. No agreement was possible at conciliation and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 20th May, 1997.
3. 1. The staff concerned are highly skilled, computer literate personnel, who are responsible for the storage and issuing of expensive and sophisticated electronic components and aircraft parts. They should receive the appropriate rate for the job.
2. The workers concerned took on the training in the stores on the basis that they would get the approval payment of £33.00 per week, with the option to opt out of this duty at any time.
3. Craftworkers who are issued with PACs receive a payment of £33.00 per week and can relinquish their PAC and opt out at any time.
4. The right to relinquish is in accordance with the Irish Aviation Authority's procedures.
4. 1. The Technical Stores staff involved in this claim are already on a higher salary scale than general stores staff, in recognition of the "technical" nature of their work.
2. Approval payments are only made to staff who have the responsibility and authority to certify components for fitting to aircraft. Such staff would normally be qualified aircraft engineers.
3. Concession of this claim would have serious financial knock-on effects for the Company.
4. The Company incurred an operating loss of £5.5m in 1996 and has budgeted for an operating loss of £3.4m in 1997. It cannot afford to incur any further additional costs.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
The Court does not consider that the certification undertaken by the stores personnel in this case equates to that undertaken by others receiving special allowances and, therefore, does not recommend concession of this claim.
The Court further believes that as the certification is now an integral part of the stores personnel's function, training should be extended to all stores personnel as speedily as possible.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th June, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.