INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. No loss for staff transferring into the Department of Agriculture and Food from the Dublin District Milk Board.
2. The employees concerned were employed by the Dublin District Milk Board. The Milk Board was abolished in 1994. In 1995, the Board's functions and staff were taken over by a private company which subsequently closed down.
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of forty seven staff who were re-deployed into the Department of Agriculture and Food, that they should suffer no loss as a result. The Union is seeking the following for its members:-
1. Modified rate of PRSI, i.e., Class D1.
2. Non-integrated Civil Service Pension.
3. Full credit for previous service.
4. Direct entry into the Department as established Civil Servants.
The Department states that the staff concerned should be treated as follows:-
1. Pay full PRSI contributions
2. Be members of the non Established Civil Service Pension Scheme.
3. Deemed as new employees for seniority purposes.
4. Sit a Civil Service Commission competition to become established.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level. The dispute was the subject of conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, held on the 12th of July, 1999, the 15th of September, 1999, the 8th of November, 1999 and on the 25th of November, 1999. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 10th of January, 2000, the earliest date suitable to both parties.
3. 1. The Union claims that the employees who transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Food should receive the same benefits as they received when they were employed by the Dublin District Milk Board.
2. The Union, on behalf of its members, is seeking:-
(a) Class D1 rate of PRSI to be applied.
(b) Membership of the non-integrated Civil Service Pension Scheme.
(c) Previous service should be reckonable for promotion purposes.
(d) Direct entry into the Department as established Civil Servants.
4. 1. The employees concerned were never Civil Servants. They were Public Servants.
2. The Department cannot concede the Union's claim for the following reasons:-
(a) The Department has been advised by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs that Class D1 rate of PRSI cannot be applied in this case.
(b) As a result of the PRSI rate applicable, the employees concerned cannot be members of the non-integrated Civil Service Pension Scheme.
(c) To allow full credit for previous service could create problems among existing Civil Servants in the Department.
(d) To become an established Civil Servant, it is necessary to sit a Civil Service Commission examination.
A number of issues were raised in relation to this case including the future status and the seniority of the claimants, and issues relating to social welfare and the superannuation scheme. At the hearing a number issues were clarified in the discussions.
Management accepted that the stipulation that people must have five years' service before retirement in order to qualify for pension would have a detrimental effect on some of these claimants and, therefore, agreed that the five year requirement would be waived in the case of claimants involved in this particular case.
The Court believes that the way forward is for the staff to accept the Department's proposal to hold a confined competition to regularise their position. In the discussions at the Court it would appear that this would regularise the position for the individuals involved. The Court recommends that the claimants accept this proposal and any difficulties arising following the holding of the competition be referred back to the Court.
However, the issues of seniority, reckonable service and PRSI can only be addressed in discussions between all the interested parties and the Court is conscious of the current rules and regulations existing in this situation. The Court, therefore, recommends that the parties endeavour to address these issues in discussions with all of the interested parties, following the regularisation of the claimants within the Civil Service.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th January, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.