INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
NATIONAL BUS AND RAIL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Change of options under Two Person Operation (T.P.O.) category.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns the Union's claim for the re-classification of two drivers (driver A and driver B) from Category 3 to Category 1. Following a 1997 agreement between the Company and the Unions (NBRU and SIPTU) that all city services in Cork were to convert to one person operation (O.P.O.).
The Company claims that under the terms of that agreement both drivers in this dispute were included in Category 3 listing and as such were expected to convert to O.P.O or they could make application for a roll-over voluntary severance option which would arise in the event that the 13 drivers in Categories 1 and 2 did not so opt. The Union's claim is that both drivers should now be placed in Category 1 or 2 which would automatically entitle them to opt for early retirement under the agreed voluntary severance terms.
The Union states that the conversion from T.P.O. to O.P.O. is enshrined in a 1986/1987 agreement and LCR9901 and subsequently LCR11151. It claims that the movement from one category to another is on a voluntary basis for the individuals concerned. The Company maintains that both drivers are properly categorised.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held on the 28th of August, 1998 and the 13th of October, 1998 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 21st of October, 1998 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 15th of December, 1998, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. In LCR9901 it was established that the conversion from T.P.O. to O.P.O. was on the basis that movement from one category to another was on a voluntary basis.
2. The two drivers concerned believe that they have been wrongly categorised by the Company.
3. Driver A is seeking four options;
1. Convert to O.P.O. and receive £14,000 conversion payment and
retain the right to voluntary severance for four years;
2. Voluntary severance;
3. Transfer to alternative duties;
4. Career break.
4. Driver B is seeking the right to avail of voluntary severance
4. 1. The 1997 agreement provided that the two drivers be included in the Category 3 listing. Therefore, the Company would expect the drivers to convert to O.P.O.
2. There would be repercussive effects if the two drivers were moved to Category 1.
3. The possible voluntary severance option for either driver can only be assessed when the intentions of the other drivers in Category 1 and 2 are finalised.
4. The Company are at present having difficulty in recruiting suitable qualified drivers.
The Court notes that an agreement was reached at conciliation in relation to worker (A) and was confirmed by the Deputy Director of Conciliation in his letter of the 7th of September, 1998. Subsequently, the Company felt unable to endorse that agreement because of its concerns as to possible repercussive effects.
The Union have stated emphatically to the Court that the Company's concerns in that regard are without foundation.
On the basis of the assurances given by the Union, and on the understanding that it will not constitute a precedent for any purpose, the Court recommends that the agreement concluded at conciliation should now be implemented in the case of worker (A). On the same basis the Court recommends that worker (B) be given the option of voluntary severance.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31st December, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.