INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Re-hearing arising from Labour Court Recommendation LCR15968.
2. In September, 1998, a dispute involving workers employed by Teagasc as Education Officers and Enterprise Officers concerning the appropriate overtime rates as a result of the introduction of evening classes in Certificate in Farming (CIF) was the subject of a Labour Court investigation. In LCR15968, which was issued on the 30th of September, 1998, the Court recommended as follows:-
- The Court recommends that the parties should meet, as a matter of urgency, to discuss arrangements for the introduction of evening classes in Certificate in Farming (CIF). The Court recommends that such discussions should be based on the following guidelines suggested by the Court:-
(i) The requirement to work in excess of 25 hours per annum before time off in lieu applies should be dropped for regular rostered extra attendance (i.e. CIF evening and weekend courses).
(ii) The Court acknowledges that Teagasc has already agreed that account will be taken of time actually spent on travelling and setting up for these courses, within an overall limit of 2 hours.
(iii) Time spent on CIF evening and weekend classes should be compensated for by giving time off in lieu on an hour for hour basis. Employees should be facilitated with such time off in lieu within a specified agreed time period.
(iv) Teagasc has indicated that the CIF programme of classes can be accommodated within 35 hours per week. In the event that more than 35 hours on average are worked per week, a rate should be agreed between the parties for extra hours worked.
(v) The Court recognises the need for Teagasc to facilitate individual concerns. However, as both parties accept the need to schedule these courses in the evening and at weekends, every effort should be made to meet this objective.
Subsequently, the parties entered negotiations at local level to try and resolve the dispute. Agreement was concluded except for Clause (iv) of the Court's recommendation and the issue of participation in the evening courses - whether it would be on a voluntary or compulsory basis. As no agreement was possible on this issue the matter has been referred back to the Court for a definitive recommendation. A Court hearing was held on the 16th of April, 1999.
3. 1. The workers concerned should be paid the appropriate overtime rate for having to work after normal hours (i.e. either at night or on Saturdays).
2. Teagasc is trying to introduce shift work without having to pay a shift premium.
3. A fair payment system must be implemented and workers' participation in the proposed new arrangement should be on a voluntary basis.
4. The position of Teagasc is in direct conflict with the provisions of chapter 2.9 of Partnership 2000.
5. It should not be compulsory for workers to have to work at night and on weekends on a structured basis.
4. 1. Concession of the claim for overtime payments in excess of the standard rate would have serious knock-on effects for the public service.
2. Teagasc obtained sanction from the relevant Government Departments to pay a flat rate of overtime for work performed in excess of the 35 hour week.
3. The Union's contention that staff participation in CIF evening classes be on a voluntary basis is unacceptable to Teagasc.
4. Failure to reach agreement has resulted in the cancellation of plans for CIF evening classes for the academic year 1998/1999.
5. Some farmers work part-time during the day with the result that evening classes are more amenable to them.
The Court was asked to adjudicate on two issues remaining from Labour Court recommendation No. LCR 15968. Firstly, to set a rate to apply to instructors of CIF evening classes, in the event that more than 35 hours on average per week are worked and, secondly, to recommend the basis on which staff should participate - compulsory or voluntary.
In the absence of an agreement on a rate, the Court has no alternative but to set a rate, taking all factors into account. Bearing in mind the commitment given by Teagasc that the level of overtime operated, outside of the 35 hours average, will be minimal, the Court recommends that the rate should be set at £21.00 per hour (or time off in lieu), commencing with the new courses in the autumn. The Court notes that Teagasc estimate that the maximum hours required at night and on Saturdays will be approximately 100 hours per year for Education Officers and approximately 30 hours per year for Enterprise Advisers.
The Court also recommends that participation in CIF evening classes for instructors should be voluntary. In order for the classes to be viable, those interested in volunteering should, at the outset of the academic year, indicate their interest and give a commitment for the full duration of the courses. The implications of an insufficient number of volunteers will have to be discussed between the parties.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31st May, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.