INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
ICTU GROUP OF TRADE UNIONS
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
AMALGAMATED ENGINEERING & ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Productivity pay increase.
2. The dispute concerns a claim by the Unions on behalf of 176 Craftworkers for a revised pay structure in return for acceptance of the Company's proposed Productivity/Flexibility Agreement. Local negotiations, which commenced in September 2000, were not successful and the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held in December 2000, February, and March 2001. A productivity package was proposed, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. It was recommended for acceptance by the parties but was rejected in relation to a number of issues, following a ballot of the workforce. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 21st May, 2001. The dispute was received in the Court on the 21st of May, 2001. A Court hearing was held on the 11th July, 2001.
3. 1. The workers concerned rejected the proposals for the following reasons:-
They are seeking a basic rate of £500 to restore the relationship with Bus Inspectors and Craftworkers in the other companies - Iarnrod Eireann and Bus Ath Cliath. Bus Inspectors' pay rates were traditionally at a level less than Craftworkers, now they exceed £500 per week. A 1/12th basic rate as a Rota Payment is also paid if Bus Inspectors start work outside their normal start time.
Based on the degree of responsibility of the two functions, the Craftworkers are entitled to payment at the same level as Bus Inspectors. The claim is based on the fact that Craftworkers are responsible for the health and safety of the drivers, passengers and general public. They take on modern buses,with new developments in technology, often with limited training or training which is only given after the buses arrive in the garages. Despite the shortfall in training the Craftworkers have the responsibility for ensuring that each vehicle leaving the garage is properly roadworthy and meets all safety standards.
2. The lead in payment should be £6,750 in line with that paid to Bus Inspectors.
3. Average pay for annual leave should be included.
4. The insertion of the word "voluntary" into the clause in the Agreement in relation to the question of early and late starting times for day workers. The Unions also seek the rectification of the anomalous position in the Tralee garage whereby employees are working a week of Tuesday to Saturday on flat payments.
5. Contractors should only be brought in, where Craftworkers are fully utilised in accordance with that which is permissible under the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.
6. The Unions object to Engineering Operatives carrying out craft work. There should be no chassis cleaning of buses by Craftworkers or other duties as outlined in Appendix B, Paragraph 7.
7. The formula for calculating voluntary severance, used in 1998, should be revised to allow for current pay year and the calculation to be based on the best of 13 weeks.
4. 1. The Company paid a 14% productivity increase to Craftworkers in 1998. A further payment of 2% was made "on account" in April, 2000 with retrospection for a full year.
2. During negotiations at the Labour Relations Commission, the Unions sought an increase in the Company's offer on the basis that this would finalise the deal and they would recommend it for acceptance. The Company conceded this final offer to secure the agreement based on this commitment and additional productivity.
3. The claimants do not have a pay relationship with Bus Inspectors/Drivers whose productivity agreements are based on major change programmes which were very different to that proposed for Craftsmen.
4. The Company's offer of 17% to 19% is substantial when taken together with the other payments retained in the agreement, represents a significant improvement in pay and conditions, bearing in mind also the 14% conceded in 1998.
5. At the Tralee depot workers are paid T1/2 for working rest day Monday. In relation to working rest day Saturday they are paid T1/2 for the first four hours and 2T thereafter. In negotiations on the elimination of the night shift in the Limerick garage, based on the terms agreed on the 9th of February for the Productivity/Flexibility Agreement, the Unions submitted a further claim for T1/5 to be paid for the new two cycle shift. In a similar claim on behalf of Engineering Operatives in Limerick garage (who also had their night shift eliminated) the claim was rejected by the Court (LCR 16475 refers).
6. With regard to the pay for annual leave, the Company complies fully with the annual leave and public holiday provisions of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 which excludes the payment of overtime.
7. In relation to a severance package the Company contends that, with increased fleet and bus services, any Craftworkers who have left the Company, would have to be replaced and, therefore, voluntary severance could not be considered.
8. The Agreement reached on flexibilities and new working arrangements outlined in Draft 5 of the Document is necessary to achieve successful implementation of the Productivity/Flexibility Agreement for Craftworkers and to fund the additional payroll costs in meeting the Union's claims as set out in the Labour Relations Commission on the 9th of February, 2001. The introduction now of any vetoes or restrictions will jeopardise the whole agreement and undermine the work done, commitments made, and, therefore, the survival of the Company.
The Court has given consideration to both the written and oral submissions of all the parties. The Court is concerned at the extent of the gap in understanding between the parties on many of the issues in dispute. It is of the view that further clarification is required, therefore, the Court recommends that the case should be referred back to the conciliation officer.
Unresolved issues and the issue of pay, can if necessary, be referred back to the Court for a definitive recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd July, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.