INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ROSCOMMON COUNTY COUNCIL
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Walsh
1. Dispute concerning the application of a Travel Allowance.
2. The Council employs 20 lorry drivers. It does not have a machinery yard and therefore all lorry drivers bring their lorries home to their own houses at nights and weekends. At present an arrangement exists whereby some drivers (appointed pre-1985) receive a travel allowance in respect of travelling outside their own designated areas or to transport employees to work. The Union seeks to have this arrangement applied to a small number of drivers (appointed post 1985) presently not in receipt of the allowance. The overtime amounts to between 1 and 2 hours per day. In June, 1996 the Council made the following offer:
MilesAmount (Per Day)
0 - 12 NIL
12 - 20 £5
20 - 28 £10
28 - 36 £15
This offer would replace all overtime being paid at present to drivers in respect of travel to work or in respect of transport of men to work. The Union rejected the offer. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held on the 25th October and 18th December, 1996 but agreement was not possible. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 18th February, 1997. A Court hearing was held in Roscommon on the 8th April, 1997.
3. 1. The Council has ignored an agreement made in the 1980's in relation to the overtime payments for drivers in particular circumstances. The Union rejected the Council's proposals because some drivers already in receipt of payments would suffer a considerable loss of earnings. The Council failed to issue guarantees to workers currently covered by the 1980's agreement.
2. The Council has refused to treat some workers in the same manner as it treats other employees. For example one worker involved in the claim is based in the Strokestown area and brings workers to work from Elphin. He is not paid any travelling time despite the fact that he has three stops on his way home to deliver these workers to their homes.
3. The Council has not applied the agreement in an even handed and fair manner. It is unjust when some workers are paid the travel allowance and others are not paid. There is only a small number of drivers excluded from the current arrangement and the equitable course of action would be to extend the arrangement to them.
COUNTY COUNCIL'S ARGUMENTS:
4. 1. There is no formal agreement in relation to the payment of the overtime allowance. The present system is inequitable as it is applied unevenly by Area Engineers. Drivers do not know their entitlement when moved from one area to another. It is paid as overtime and cannot be isolated from overtime actually worked.
2. It increases the hourly cost of a Council lorry. The present system is a significant cost to the Council and makes it uneconomic compared to hired plant. It is unsatisfactory and should not be extended to other workers.
3. The Council's proposal would mean that payment could be made in the form of a travel allowance and not overtime. It would be based on distance of place from work base (home). As transport to work is being provided by the Council, drivers should travel a minimum distance of 12 miles without compensation.
4. The Council's proposal is clear and easy to operate. It is equitable and based on distance travelled rather than Engineers' areas.
5. The Council is prepared to implement a system of compensation for travel based on distance from base to place of work.
6. A recent Department of the Environment Survey states that one of the criteria for Council owned plant is that it should be at a lesser cost than hired in plant.
The Court having considered all the information presented by the parties makes the following recommendation:
(1) The Council offer of July 1996 to be modified on the basis outlined below:
Distance from base to location Amount (per day)
(2) Loss of earnings as a result of the new proposals to be compensated at twice the annual loss.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th May, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.