INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Dispute concerning relativity/attaining maximum of pay scale.
2. There are currently seven Grade D supervisors in the Aircraft cleaning section. Three of whom are at the maximum of the scale. The claim concerns four Aircraft Cleaning Duty Supervisors. The Union maintains that they have relativity of pay scales with Aircraft Loading Duty Supervisors. There are eleven Loading Duty Supervisors, nine of whom were on the maximum of a 23-point scale. The Company moved the remaining two of the Loading Duty Supervisors to the maximum of the scale. The Union claims relativity for the four Cleaning Duty Supervisors with the Loading Duty Supervisors and contend that the four Cleaning Duty Supervisors should be moved to the maximum of the scale. The basis of the Union's claim is that both groups are on Grade D. Management rejected the claim stating that the two workers who received the merit payments were granted those because of specific extra duties undertaken by them (details supplied to the Court). The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 5th of August, 1999. Agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 20th of August, 1999. A Court hearing was held on the 15th of November, 1999.
3. 1. The main argument in this case is the anomaly in pay between the four supervisors concerned and their immediate subordinates (Shift Leader, Grade C). The level of responsibility of the Shift Leader is primarily the turnaround cleaning of aircraft and the supervision of between three and twelve staff on board aircraft. The position of Duty Supervisor was created under the Programme for Recovery by combining the Foreman's duties, Grade D and the duties of Cleaning Controllers, Grade C. Details of the present duties of the supervisors are supplied to the Court and clearly show that the level of responsibility of the Duty Supervisor far outweighs that of Shift Leader. This argument was used by two workers in the Aircraft Loading Section when they sought to address this anomaly on a personal basis. The Company conceded their claim and moved them to the maximum of the Operative Grade D scale.
2. Historically the Company employs operatives in Ground operations as Loader/Cleaner. The Loading section have the same management and operative supervisory structure and the workload of the Duty Supervisors in the Aircraft Cleaning section is equal to or above that of the Duty Supervisors in the Aircraft Loading section. Therefore, the Company breached the Operative Grade D pay scales, in this instance, thus creating an anomaly.
3. In recent negotiations relating to the 2% local bargaining clause under Partnership 2000, the parties agreed that the Company will have the flexibility to recruit staff at various points of the scale subject to agreed criteria. Thus it would appear the Company recognise that, in the present environment, the proper remuneration package must be provided to recruit/retain and motivate staff. The successful resolution of this issue would go a long way to creating a more equitable position for Duty Supervisors, Loader/Cleaner in the Ground Operations Department of Dublin Airport.
4. 1. Each of the four workers concerned are being paid the correct amounts in accordance with their contracts of employment and the relevant Company/Union agreements. They should not be afforded a pay increase to which they have no entitlement. The claimants are seeking parity with two workers of similar grade and service working in a different section who have been the beneficiaries of on-scale merit increments, and are claiming that the increase be applied to them. Management rejected their claim on the basis that no additional increments were merited.
2. The Company has honoured its contracts of employment with each of the workers in every respect. Those workers who benefited from merit increments are not being paid in excess of the maximum of the Operative D scale.
3. If an employer considers an employee's performance worthy of recognition at a rate which exceeds the remuneration determined by the service point on the appropriate scale, such an employer is free to do so. The Company has acted in line with agreements and rejects the concept that individual merit payments be applied to all.
The issue in dispute in this case relates to the movement through the scales, the Union arguing that there are agreed pay scales and an understanding as to how people will move through.
The Company argued that in addition to the normal progression they reserve the right, to move people based on merit performance through the scales on an accelerated basis and have in fact practised this over many years.
The Union's argument that the two people moved to the maximum in the Aircraft Loading section was based on an agreement on anomalies in earnings relative to their subordinates was refuted by the Company, who gave their reasoning behind the merit based payments to both individuals.
It is quite clear to the Court that the Company has to quote its own wordsused a merit performance mechanism to occasionally move people through the incremental stages of the pay structures.
The Court having considered the written and oral submissions is satisfied that the pay structures have not been breached and that the arguments in relation to earnings of subordinates does not justify moving the claimants to the maximum of the scales.
The Court therefore rejects the claim but would recommend that in the interest of transparency, while the Company may be unwilling to discuss individual cases it should at least give an indication annually of how many people have benefited from the merit based procedure.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd December, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.