INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Grading claim.
2. The claim concerns the transfer of three railway stations from under the responsibility of the Stationmaster, Connolly Station, Intercity Department, to the responsibility of the Stationmaster, Sutton, Suburban Department. Five Senior Depotspersons were re-designated as Station Operative Grade 2 in these three stations.
The Union members objected to the transfer of responsibility and a number of meetings took place at which no progress was made. The members then made a claim for compensation. Following a further meeting, the Company issued a letter rejecting the claim for compensation and dealing with the concerns regarding grading in the proposed ‘New Deal’ arrangements.
Some Senior Depotspersons in Connolly have since been regraded to Traffic Co-ordinator which is now re-designated as Station Operative Grade No. 1. The five employees in the three stations are seeking parity with the workers from Connolly Station. The members have worked every Sunday, which is a designated rest day, and claim that they are now entitled to be compensated by being granted a day in lieu for each Sunday worked since the deal commenced.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 27th of June, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 9th of July, 2002.
3. 1. The three stations have been attached to Connolly Station and staff promoted to the stations in question have always come from Connolly.
2. The members objected to the transfer on the issues of entitlement to apply for promotion at Connolly and the grading structure. The members made a claim for compensation which was rejected by the Company.
3. A letter issued from the Company which states that, if a more favourable grading resulted in Connolly, the staff attached to the stations in question would benefit in that grading. The Union advised that this undertaking has been breached.
4. The employees in question are working 7 days per week with no day off. The Union claims that the employees are entitled to be compensated by being granted a day in lieu for each Sunday worked.
4. 1. There will be no change in the duties to be performed by these workers, in their existing conditions of employment and no change in work location.
2. There will be no diminution in promotional opportunities arising from the transfer of responsibility.
3. The employees and stations in question are 100% involved in Suburban business whereas Connolly is involved with Intercity Business.
4. The claimants were graded consistent with their colleagues in Connolly Station. Any subsequent adjustments in grade were made strictly in the context of identified increased responsibilities including supervisory duties and changes in work patterns particular to the working environment in Connolly Station.
5. The variance in grading structure did not occur as part of the ‘New Deal’ agreement.
The Union's claim in this case is based on the interpretation which it has placed on the content of a letter received from the Company dated the 23rd of May, 2001. The letter recites the outcome of a meeting held to consider a Union claim for compensation arising from changes in the reallocation of Management.
The Court accepts that the relevant passage in this letter is open to more than one viable interpretation. The Court also accepts that an expectation was created amongst the claimants that they would benefit from any re-grading of Senior Depot Persons at Connolly Station. However, the qualified wording of the letter in question suggests that these expectations may have been fully justified.
The Court has also taken into account the Union's claim regarding Sunday Rest Day working. While it is clearly undesirable that staff should be expected to work without receiving the rest periods prescribed in their agreement, it is accepted that the claimants suffered no monetary loss on this account.
Having regard to all the circumstances in this case, the Court recommends that each of the claimants be paid a once off lump sum of €5,000 in full and final settlement of all claims against the Company. This specifically includes the claim relating the change in reporting relations and to working on rest days. The Court further recommends that the Company should take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the staff in question receive the Rest Days to which they are entitled under the agreement.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th July, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Caroline Hayes, Court Secretary.