INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
2. Control Plus is the trading name of Central Parking System Ireland Limited (CPSIL) and is part of Central Parking Corporation of America. It has a sub-contracting relationship with National Traffic Control System. It is a transportation management company which delivers a mix of parking related products from ticketing through to clamping, towing and notice processing. It employs 68 people to work on a Dublin Corporation contract in the Dublin City area.
In October, 1999 the Union advised the Company that a number of its employees had joined the Union and requested a meeting to discuss Union recognition, pay and terms and conditions of employment. A meeting was held in December, 1999, following which the Union was informed that matters concerning pay and conditions would be dealt with internally through a Staff Liaison Committee. The Committee met regularly with Management, and both parties exchanged proposals.
On the 6th of June, 2000, the Company posted a new roster on the notice board which had not been agreed with the employees. This resulted in an unofficial work stoppage on the 7th of June. Further industrial action took place from the 9th of June to the 13th of June. The Union then became involved. On the 14th of June the parties attended a conciliation conference at the Labour Relations Commission. A total of five conciliation conferences took place and a number of outstanding issues were agreed.
However, the parties were unable to reach agreement on basic pay rates, unsocial hours premium and Sunday premium. They requested referral to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 15th of September, 2000. Following the final conciliation conference the workers had balloted for industrial action. However, they agreed to await the Labour Court Recommendation before considering any industrial action.
3. 1. A major problem facing this Company is the high turnover of staff. It is essential that an incremental scale is introduced to reward employees who feel that they have a long-term future in the company.
2. The Union's claim of an hourly rate of £7.63 rising to £9.43 after five years is very reasonable. General Operatives or Traffic Wardens who are employed directly by Dublin Corporation begin at £9.05 per hour rising to £9.76 at four and a half years. The claimants would only reach the start of the Traffic Warden rate after four years' service, based on a 40 hour week.
3. The Union's claim includes compensation of one sixth or 6.5 hours per week for the introduction of extra hours and new rosters. It is also inclusive of the first phase of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF). General Operatives in Dublin Corporation have been offered an 8.5% increase under Phase 1 of the PPF.
4. The claimants have continuously sought to have the issue of pay comprehensively addressed through direct discussions with Management. They believe that they are underpaid and undervalued and are convinced that the job they perform justifiably supports substantial increases in the pay rates.
4. 1. The Company has proposed a probationary rate of £5.80 (current rate of £5.50 + 5.5% PPF first phase). It has also proposed an unsocial hours premium of an additional £3.00 per shift between the hours of 21.00 and 07.00 where at least three hours are worked. A premium for Sunday working of £0.80 per hour or £5.00, whichever is the greater, has also been proposed. The Union has rejected each of these proposals.
2. The Company has agreed substantial improvements to the terms and conditions of employment of its employees in recent weeks. These improvements include a basic pay increase, a sick pay scheme, additional annual leave, more favourable overtime arrangements and a commitment to discussions on introducing a pension scheme.
3. The proposed improvements will cost the Company £177,000 this year, which will result in a loss to the Company of £87,000. The Company cannot incur any further costs by conceding the Union's claim.
4. The Company has agreed to honour the pay terms of the PPF. It will implement the first phase from the 1st of April, 2000. The Company has made a fair and reasonable offer to the Union in relation to Sunday working and unsocial hours. It is also prepared to review its position in August, 2001 when its contract with Dublin Corporation is due for review.
Both parties to this dispute accept that the appropriate rate of pay of those associated with this claim should be determined by taking account of fair external comparison. Having considered the full range of duties attached to the jobs in question, the Court is of the view that the posts suggested by the Union are the most appropriate comparators. On this basis the Court accepts that the current rates of pay are out of line. As this is a newly organised employment the Union are not precluded by the PPF from seeking an increase in pay.
This cannot, however, be regarded as the only criterion to be taken into account in determining the level of pay. Account must also be taken of the commercial circumstances of the Company. In that regard it is noted that the Company are engaged under a fixed price contract with its client Local Authority. In the Court's view, it may well be necessary for the Company and the Local Authority to consider the implications under the contract of bringing the rate of pay of the workers concerned into line with accepted standards in comparable employments.
The Court recommends that the parties re-enter negotiations on an appropriate package of pay and conditions which adequately reflects the range of duties and responsibilities of those concerned, together with the arrangements necessary to fund any adjustments agreed.
Should the parties fail to reach final agreement within a period of two months from the date of acceptance of this recommendation, the matter may be referred back to the Court for a definitive recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th September, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.