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. Mileage payment.
2. Iarnrod Eireann concluded a productivity agreement in 1994 covering all rail operative grades. Included in the agreement which was implemented on the 13th of May, 1994 was a clause in relation to compensation for the elimination of mileage payments made to locomotive drivers. Locomotive drivers were asked to opt for one of two methods of compensation:-
A lump sum payment equivalent to two and a half times the mileage payment received in 1993
A fixed weekly allowance equivalent to the average weekly payment received in 1993.
The worker concerned who is employed as a locomotive driver in Westport opted for the lump sum compensation.
In December, 1995 the worker informed management that he wished to change his method of compensation to a fixed weekly allowance equivalent to the average weekly payment received in 1993. The Union argues that the worker received wrong information from management in relation to the method of weekly payment which caused him to make the wrong decision. The Company refused the worker's request to change his method of compensation.
Local level discussions failed to resolve the issue and the matter was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 18th of April, 1997. As agreement was not reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 12th of May, 1997 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th of August, 1997.
3. 1. The worker sought information from management in relation to the payment of the fixed weekly allowance in the event of illness. He was informed that the payment would not be made during periods of illness but subsequently learned that this information was not correct.
2. The worker has been treated unfairly by the Company. After careful consideration he made his decision to seek the lump sum compensation based on the information received.
3. The worker is seeking to enter into an arrangement with the Company in relation to the money already paid out. Had he known that the payment would continue to be made during periods of illness he would have opted for the weekly payment.
4. 1. The worker as agreed was afforded the mileage compensation option with his 319 colleagues in May, 1994. He did not exercise his option until September, 1994. Consequently he had ample opportunity to clarify any matters which required clarification. By his own admission he did not discuss the matter with either his colleagues or his trade union.
2. The worker's initial claim for the facility to reverse his compensation option indicated that he had been given incorrect information from the office of the District Manager, Galway. He subsequently indicated that the Station Master, Westport had misinformed him. Both assertions were checked out but no record or recollection of the alleged query was found.
3. The Company does not accept that the worker received wrong information. All drivers were aware that the weekly allowance option was based on a total of the annual payment preserved at 1993 mileage payment level in equal instalments regardless of absence. No other driver from approximately 320 others has queried the mileage compensation methodology.
Having considered the submissions from the parties the Court has concluded that the agreement made between the Union and the Company was clear and accordingly the Court does not recommend concession of the claimant's request to reverse his original option.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th September, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.