INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY FEDERATION (CIF)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
LIMERICK BUILDING TRADES' GROUP
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Travel time
2. The Union, on behalf of its members and the Limerick Building Trades' Group (the Group), is seeking a review of the CIFs' Limerick Area Travel Agreement.
In 1979, an agreement was concluded between the CIF and the Construction Industry Committee of ICTU which provided that , from January, 1981, travelling time would be introduced in the Dublin area in substitution for the system of travelling allowance which then existed. In 1980/1981, similar agreements were introduced in Cork, Limerick and Waterford. Payments for Limerick were as follows;
0 - 3 miles from GPO one third of one hour's pay per day
3 - 5 miles from GPO one half of one hour's pay per day
+ 5 miles from GPO 1 hour's pay per day
The present dispute originated at a meeting in March, 1999, when the Union sought the same mileage bands as applied in Cork and Dublin. The claim was rejected by the CIF. The Union again raised the matter in November, 1999, where a claim of a minimum payment of 1 hour's pay per day (as per the Dublin agreement) was made. The claim was again rejected.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relation Commission and a conciliation conference took place on the 24th of April, 2001. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 14th of June, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th of September, 2001, in Limerick.
3. 1. The current Limerick agreement has been in place for 20 years and is outdated. It does not recognise the changes in circumstances which have occurred since the introduction, e.g. the increase in traffic. The current agreement does not compensate workers for the time and expense in travelling to and from work as it is supposed to do.
2. The Dublin and Cork agreements cover a radius of up to 20 miles from the city centre. Limerick workers cover similar distances without adequate compensation. The minimum payment for a Grade B operative in Cork is £34.68 (44.03 Euro) per week and in Dublin it is £49.55 (62.92 Euro). For the same operative in Limerick payment is £15.65 (19.87 Euro) per week.
3. The present agreement does not reflect the increase in costs of purchasing and maintaining a car since the 1980's (details supplied to the Court)..
4. 1. The CIF informed the Union in 1999 that there was no need to review the Limerick agreement as none of the travel time agreements in other parts of the country had been reviewed since they were introduced. Travel time payments are linked to hourly rates and as the hourly rates increase the travel time payments automatically increase. This has been accepted by the Union. For the period 1981 - 2000, the rates of pay have increases considerably more than inflation.
2. A review of the Registered Employment Agreement (REA) for the CIF took place in October 2000. Those covered by travel time agreements (including Limerick) now receive an additional 30 days' travelling time per year.
The claim is cost-increasing and, therefore , outside the scope of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. Concession of the claim would lead to similar claims in other areas covered by the agreements.
The Court has considered carefully the detailed written and oral submissions made by the parties to this dispute.
The agreements relating to travel allowance were independently negotiated for each of the relevant cities, based on the arrangement agreed in 1981 for the Dublin area. The Court must assume, in the absence of anything to the contrary, that each agreement reflected fairly the relative position regarding travel in each city at that time.
The Court has been given no information to enable it to decide that the difficulties of travel have increased since then to a greater degree in Limerick than in any of the other four cities involved. The basis of compensation, to the extent that it is tied to pay rates, has more than offset inflation rates since. On this basis, the Court does not find any reason to suggest that the existing arrangements up to five miles should be changed for Limerick.
However, given the significant expansion in this city and others outside of Dublin over recent years, the Court recommends that the parties meet to consider whether the allowances over five miles radius should be discussed. These discussions could, if necessary, be referred to the JIC for the Registered Employment Agreement.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
22nd October, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.