INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
GLASNEVIN CEMETERIES GROUP
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation
2. The Glasnevin Cemeteries Group comprises the following Glasnevin, Dardistown, Newlands and Palmerstown cemeteries. The Union has submitted a claim for retrospective payment for its member. It claims that the worker was on the wrong rate of pay for a foreman from 1985 to 2000. The Union is also seeking the restoration of a "dumper allowance" which management stopped without any consultation either with the Union or the worker.
Management rejected the Union's claim. It states that the claimant is being paid the appropriate rate of pay as foreman at Palmerstown Cemetery since November, 1985. Management states that at that time rates of pay for each location were negotiated separately on a location by location basis. It argues that in August, 2000, negotiations took place ("In House talks") which harmonised the rates of pay for various categories of workers within the Group. Management states that in relation to the grade of Foreman that it was agreed that a basic rate would apply without allowances.
The dispute was the subject of a Rights Commissioner's hearing which took place on the 2nd August, 2001. The following is the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation:-
" Having carefully considered the matter I have concluded that the outcome of the " In House" discussions resolved the worker's main problem i.e. parity with other foremen. I do not recommend concession of the claim for retrospection" .
The Union appealed the Recommendation to the Labour Court on the 8th October, 2001, in accordance with Section 13 (9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court investigated the dispute on the 14th May, 2002 (the earliest date suitable to the parties).
3. 1. The worker's rate of pay on appointment to the position of foreman was increased, but not in line with other foremen.
2. Because the worker operated away from other foremen he was not aware of any pay differential. Consequently, he did not make a pay parity claim.
3. The abolition or consolidation of the "dumper allowance" was not discussed at the "In House" talks and was withdrawn without any consultation with the Union.
4. The Union was not involved in the "In House" discussions.
5. The Rights Commissioner was wrong in fact in his analysis, conclusions and recommendation. His reasons for rejecting the compensation/retrospection claim was based on an incorrect interpretation of the information and facts as presented.
4. 1. There was no established rate of pay for the job. Rates of pay for Foremen varied from location to location.
2. The Foreman's rate is a basic rate of pay and, as agreed, no allowances are applicable .This applies to all employees in this category.
3. The claimant was involved, as a SIPTU local representative, in the comprehensive negotiations in relation to the Group rates of pay concluded towards the end of 2000.
4. The worker did not raise the issue of retrospection or allowances until after the collective negotiations had concluded.
5. The claimant is seeking to renegotiate a "done deal" and concession of his claim would lead to knock-on claims from other employees.
The Union argued that a common rate existed for Foremen, but that the claimant was on a lower rate. The Company stated that there were different rates across the Cemeteries.
It is accepted by both sides that a common rate now exists for Foremen, since the new agreement.
The Court is not satisfied, having considered the information before it, that a common rate applied for Foremen, and that the claimant was the only one not on that rate.
The Court therefore, rejects the Union's claim in this case,
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th May, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.