INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
FLOGAS IRELAND LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
MARINE, PORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Increase in mileage rates.
2. The Union is seeking an increase in mileage rates to be paid to two sales representatives who use their private cars on company business. The mileage rate, which was established in 1994, is 34 pence per mile up to 24,000 business miles per annum with the balance paid at 11.7 pence per mile. The Company rejects the Union's claim. Management states that it is company policy that sales representatives operate company cars, of which it has a fleet of twenty. It contends that, at the request of the workers concerned, it agreed to allow them to use their own vehicles provided that the cost of the mileage equated to the cost of operating a company car. The claim was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on the 4th of September, 1997. As agreement was not possible at conciliation, or in subsequent discussions between the parties, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 22nd of May, 1998, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 30th of June, 1998.
3. 1. There has been a significant increase in the cost of motoring in recent years. Figures from the Automobile Association show that between May, 1993, and May, 1998, mileage costs have increased by 16.6%, while between May, 1989, and May, 1998, the increase is 36.73%.
2. One of the claimants was previously employed by Eirgas. His contract of employment states that he uses his own car for company business. The other claimant chose to use his own car with the belief that mileage rates would increase as costs increase.
3. The claimants do not wish to accept the Company's offer of company cars as, for personal reasons, they prefer to drive bigger, more family-friendly cars. They also have competitive insurance deals with their own insurance brokers. Any short term savings now may have negative long term effects.
4. 1. Under the original agreement, whereby employees were permitted to use private cars on company business, it was clearly stated that the basis of the mileage rate was to be the cost of operating a company car. The Company is committed to an annual review of the fleet's running costs. Mileage rates will automatically increase if fleet costs increase.
2. The Company has offered to provide the claimants with company cars or to convert their existing cars to run on LPG, which is approximately 35% cheaper than petrol. It has also offered to obtain cheaper insurance cover if they so wish. The claimants have refused all offers.
3. The cost of operating the company's fleet of cars has remained virtually unchanged over the past number of years. While some costs have increased, others have been reduced. The claimants are driving larger, non-LPG, private cars at their own discretion. Any costs incurred over and above what might be incurred by representatives driving company cars are a matter for the individuals themselves.
The Court has considered the written and oral submissions put before it in this case.
The Court considers that the various offers made by the Company to improve the driving costs of the two individuals involved are reasonable. Depending on the option chosen by the individual, these would either significantly reduce or eliminate the extra costs that these representatives consider that they presently incur as against the other representatives in company cars.
The Court recommends that these options be accepted.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
6th July, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.