INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Early start agreement
2. In November, 1993, the parties reached an agreement for the introduction of an early morning shift at 05.00 hours for clerical staff employed at the Dublin Station at Dublin Airport. The agreement provided for a maximum of 35 duties per roster (weekly) and for employees to work a maximum of one 05.00 shift every 21 days.
In September, 1998, the Company sought an increase in the number of duties per week, and to remove the restriction of one 05.00 shift per worker every 21 days. The dispute came before the Labour Court in August, 1999, and Recommendation No. LCR16267 issued in September, 1999. The issues involved in the present dispute are very much those in August, 1999, and full details are contained in LCR16267. In it, the Court recommended that the Company's proposals should be accepted, but that further negotiations should take place, and any unresolved issues could be referred back to the Court.
Briefly, the Company is seeking to roster each clerical worker, where necessary, for one 05.00 duty in every 10 duties. The Company believes that this is necessary because of changes in air transportation since 1993, and because of the need to remain competitive. The Union's view is that it is unreasonable for the workers to do so many 05.00 shifts, and it is particularly concerned about workers over 55 years of age from a health and safety aspect.
The parties initially used the services of their own internal partnership arrangement, but a proposal from it (details supplied to the Court) was rejected by a majority of 4 to 1. The dispute was then referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place on the 14th of February, 2000. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 15th of February, 2000, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 2nd of March, 2000. The following is the Court's recommendation:
In Recommendation LCR16267, the Court accepted that the type of changes required by the Company are reasonable and should be conceded. The Court remains of that opinion.
In that Recommendation, the Court acknowledged that the parties had to negotiate and agree a reasonable basis on which these changes could be introduced. It recommended that further negotiations take place with a view to establishing such a basis. Despite these negotiations, and a recommendation by an agreed mediator, the dispute remains unresolved.
Having reviewed the submissions of the parties, the Court believes that the underlying obstacle to final agreement on this issue lies in the unsatisfactory state of industrial relation within this section of the Company, and a general lack of trust between the parties. In the Court's view, this underlying problem should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The Court is equally of the view, for the reasons referred to in LCR16267, that the commercial needs of the Company requires the introduction of greater flexibility in rostering arrangements than that currently available under the Union/Company agreement.
With a view to achieving both of these objectives, the Court recommends as follows:
Review of Industrial Relations.
The Court recommends that the parties jointly commission an intensive audit of non-pay industrial relations issues within the section. This should examine the totality of relationships between management and employees, and should seek to address the causes of any deficiencies identified. This process should commence immediately and be completed by end October, 2000.
On completion of this process, the parties should conclude a new agreement on rostering which has regard to the current and future needs of the Airline.
Pending the conclusion of a new agreement, referred to above, the Union should agree to staff involved in Check-in, Boarding, and Arrivals, and other staff necessary for the effective operations of these services, being rostered for 05.00 starts on occasions on which it is necessary to do so in order to meet the departure/arrivals schedule of the Airline.
The current arrangements provided for in the 1993 Agreement should continue to apply to other staff in the section.
The Recommendations made by the agreed Mediator should be accepted and implemented.
On acceptance of this Recommendation, each staff member in the section should be paid a one-off lump sum of £500. This is to be regarded as an exceptional payment based on the unique circumstances of this case. It should be paid on the clear understanding that it will not be relied upon or quoted by the Union in support of any claim by any other group in any circumstances.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th March, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.