INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CENTRAL FISHERIES BOARD
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Claim for the reduction from 20 miles to 5 miles in qualifying limit for Day (Subsistence) Allowance.
2. The Union is seeking an amendment to the present scheme for Field Grades employed by the Central and Regional Fisheries Board in relation to the "Day Subsistence Allowance". It wants the qualifying distance for the allowance reduced from twenty miles to five miles. The Union states that the claimed allowance is currently available in the Civil Service and to a broad range of "Field Staff".
Management rejected the claim on the basis that it was cost increasing.
As no agreement was possible between the parties, the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held on the 14th of August, 2001, and on the 26th of September, 2001, but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 2nd of October, 2001, under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 29th of November, 2001.
3. 1. It was indicated by management that if the "Salmon Tagging Scheme" was disposed of, that the Department of the Marine would provide the additional funding to address the issue of the twenty mile qualification.
2. There are other "Field Grades" who are in receipt of the Civil Service subsistence allowance (5 Miles) such as Sea Fishery Officers, Tax Officers, Technical Agriculture Officers, etc..
3. The very nature of the Fishery Officers' work deprives that grade of the facility to return to base for meal breaks. This grade should not be treated any differently from the grades listed above.
4. The Union does not accept that this claim is in breach of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF).
4. 1. Subsistence allowances are granted only to meet actual disbursement and is not intended to be a source of emolument or profit.
2. Management does not accept that direct comparisons are valid between other grades within the Public Service in relation to the 5 mile limit as claimed by the Union.
3. The current annual cost of subsistence payments is in the order of £150K (190460.71 Euro) and the additional cost associated with this claim, if conceded, would be £380K (482500.46 Euro) or approximately 250% of an increase on existing expenditure.
4. Management is prepared to jointly examine with the Union avenues which might allow the claim to be dealt with on a cost neutral basis.
5. Concession of the claim will have further cost increasing implications for other grades within the Fisheries service.
The Court, having considered the submissions and the additional arguments is conscious that management for its part did not intend to confer the impression that co-operation with the Wild Salmon Tagging Scheme would lead to concession of the subsistence claim, and that the Union believed that their co-operation would be reflected in the Board's attitude to concession in whole or in part with their subsistence scheme.
The Court is in no doubt that if there were to be no quid pro quo then it would have prolonged the introduction of the Tagging Scheme.
In all the circumstances of this case, the Court recommends that the subsistence allowance limit be reduced, with immediate effect, to 15 miles. The Court recommends that the parties should, in the context of further reductions by way of offsetting measures; meet to
explore how best this could be achieved. These negotiations should be conducted on the basis that if no offsetting is achieved there will be continued co-operation with ongoing change as outlined in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th December, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.