INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
NATIONAL BUS AND RAIL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Claim for voluntary severance following the elimination of Route 52.
2. In early 1986, agreement was reached between the parties in relation to an addendum to LCR9901 which provided for the introduction of one person operated double deck and large capacity single deck buses, and the feeder bus service. Clause 3 of the agreement is as follows:-
- "Where the service is reduced on a route as a direct result of the introduction of a feeder bus service, the consequential staff reduction will be made in the normal way, which is that the most junior marked in staff move off the route. A member of staff moved off his/her route in this way who is aged 55 years or over or has 30 years service or more will be given the option of retiring on the Voluntary Severance Terms. This arrangement will apply to staff moved off their routes in the circumstances as stated above and as a direct result of the introduction of a feeder bus service. If there is a dispute as to whether a particular reduction is a direct result of the introduction of a feeder service it will be referred to the Joint Tribunal for OPO."
The matter was the subject of an investigation by the Joint Tribunal for OPO and a conciliation conference held under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on the 23rd of July, 1998. The Tribunal's findings are as follows:-
- "I have considered the arguments made by both sides at the meeting and I
have read carefully the text of the agreement made under the auspices of
the Labour Court.
1. While it is clear to me that both Route 52 and its replacement Route 3 have an element of feeder service to the DART at Sydney Parade, I am not satisfied that either Route could be properly described as a "feeder bus route".
2. As I read the text of the agreement made at the Labour Court, it seems to me that it was intended to cover situations where an existing normal route would have been affected by the introduction of a feeder service. I am not satisfied, in view of point 1 above, that the conditions of the agreement have been met and so I do not believe there is an obligation on the Company to make voluntary service available in this case. Even were I to accept that both routes are in fact "feeder" routes I am not satisfied that the agreement was intended to provide for situations
whereby an existing feeder service is being replaced by another feeder service.
As the agreement referred to was negotiated under the auspices of the
Labour Court I would suggest, if my opinion was not acceptable to either
side, that the matter at issue on this occasion should be put to the Court for
interpretation of the agreement."
3. 1. Management extended Route 3 to UCD which covers the territory previously covered by Route 52 and this resulted in the creation of a feeder bus service on Route 3. The effect of this extension was a fall off in passenger numbers on Route 52.
2. In the period following the cancellation of Route 52 pre-paid rail-feeder tickets were accepted by the drivers. In the context of whether Route 3 is a feeder bus or not, this route was extended via Sydney Parade to service alighting or boarding passengers to and from the DART, particularly students attending Belfield.
3. The movement of Route 3 to Donnybrook garage and its extension to replace Route 52 was a planned scheme to avoid the workers' right to voluntary severance.
4. In relation to Clause 2 of the Tribunal's findings it is accepted that the central thrust of LCR9901 was orientated towards a feeder service displacing a service or duties on regular stage carriage service. However, with constant evolvement of operations, changes occur. It is the Union's experience that Route 58 was cancelled and crews offered voluntary severance when the route was covered by Route 45A and Route 7. Similar offers were made when Route 6 was cancelled and replaced by Route 5 and Route 114, a feeder bus service.
5. The drivers on Route 52 at the time of its elimination were the most senior staff in Donnybrook garage. In the circumstances, as per the agreement and a human element perspective, the drivers should be offered the right to voluntary severance.
4. 1. The elimination of Route 52 in July, 1998 does not meet the criteria for granting voluntary severance under Clause 3 of the Addendum to LCR. 9901. Clause 3 only provides for routes directly affected by the introduction of the DART and feeder bus service in the mid 1980s, whereby passengers changed from travelling by bus to travelling by DART. This is not the case in 1998.
2. The Company requests the Court to recommend that Clause 3 of the 9th of January, 1986 Addendum to Recommendation No. 9901 does not apply to the drivers who came off Route 52 in July, 1998 following its elimination because:-
(i) The Route was not reduced as a direct result of a feeder bus service.
(ii) Route 3 did not replace Route 52 and it still operates on a daily basis throughout
the day between Larkhill and Belfield as it has done since 1988.
(iii) Route 3 is not designated a feeder bus and does not have a through ticketing
system with the DART. This is also the case for the journey from Kilmacud to
Sydney Parade in the morning and the return journey in the evening.
(iv) Bus Atha Cliath has an urgent need to recruit drivers for OPO buses especially
due to a major expansion of its services and increased turnover in staff and it is
illogical to be paying substantial voluntary severance compensation to drivers
who are already carrying out this type of work.
While accepting that Route 52 was clearly a feeder route, the Court finds that the Chairman of the OPO/TPO Tribunal was correct in interpreting that the agreement in relation to the right to voluntary severance did not extend to these employees. The Court, therefore, does not recommend concession of the Union's claim in this case.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
15th February, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.