INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
DUBLIN PORT AUTHORITY
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Relativity with Craftsmen.
2. The dispute concerns the Union's claim on behalf of 104 general workers for the restoration of relativity with the craft workers rate of pay.
In 1998/99, the Company completed separate agreements with both the general workers and craftsmen. The agreement with the craftsmen provided for the creation of a new grade of technical craftsman in addition to the retention of the existing craft grades. The Union claims that the general workers relativity is now with the technical craftsman. It argues that there is no person left in a craftsman grade and the Company has renamed the craft workers in an attempt to break the relativity.
The Company rejects the claim. Its position is that the new grade of technical craftsman which will carry out unprecedented levels of multi-skilling and flexibilities bears no relationship to the previous and continuing grade of craftsman. It argues that the grade of craftsman will continue to carry out the traditional duties associated with that grade and will not be required to be involved in multi-skilling.
The matter was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement could not be reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 28th of February, 2000 under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 25th of May, 2000.
3. 1. Clause 21 of the agreement "structuring for the future" states:- "if the new relativity established between the general workers and craftsmen is less than the existing 85%, the Union reserves the right to serve a claim on the Company to restore the 85% differential. However, Dublin Port reserves the right to seek further productivity in restoring the 85% differential."
During negotiations, the Company was seeking to end the relativity arrangement. It was only on the insistence of the Union that this clause was included and the inclusion of the clause was instrumental in the workers accepting the deal.
2. The wording of the agreement was couched in such a manner so as to circumvent the workers making a claim. The Company has simply renamed the craft workers in an attempt to break the relativity agreement.
3. In structuring for the future, the workers agreed to a reduction of 44 workers, full flexibility and the loss of scheduled overtime, plus the loss of premium earnings. It is clear that the payroll savings generated by the general workers match or exceed the savings of the craft workers.
4. It is the Union's view that workers have given everything possible to the Company in "structuring for the future" and if the relativity with the craft grades is broken, it is the workers' view that the agreement no longer exists.
4. 1. General workers continue to enjoy the 85% differential with the craftsman in Dublin Port. Any increase arising from the agreed analogue with craftsmen will be passed on to general workers in order to maintain an 85% differential.
2. Increases awarded to the general workers under "structuring for the future" were based on an agreed share of payroll savings. This is the only basis for any increase.
3. The agreement reached with general workers achieved the maximum flexibility/productivity that the Company required from this group.
4. The new grade of technical craftsman, which will carry out unprecedented levels of multi-skilling and flexibilities bears no relationship to the previous and existing/continuing grade of craftsman.
5. The rate for craftsman is based on an agreed analogue with some ten other companies. Concession of this claim would see the general worker's rate move above that of the craftsman. This is not a tenable position. It would result in massive repercussive effects both internally in Dublin Port where other grades and sections of employees enjoy the same differential with craftsmen as general workers (approximately 320 employees) and also externally in relation to existing relativities in other organisations.
The Court can understand the feelings of frustration and alienation felt by the claimants as a result of the introduction and phasing in of new arrangements for craft workers, due to the perceived loss of their relativity with this grade, following the craftworkers productivity deal.
However, the Court considers that the relativity with the craft grade is not extinguished by a temporary absence of craftsmen in that craft grade. The Court notes the imminent appointment of new employees to the craft grade, and also that craft pay rates form part of the analogue.
In the circumstances, the Court recommends that the agreement with the general workers should continue as presently implemented. The position should be reconsidered at the end of the general workers' agreement, in the light of developments in the craft and technical craft positions in the Company.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
12th June, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.