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 Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Rate of pay for coastal defence workers.
2. The Union submitted a pay claim on behalf of six workers employed as Coastal Defence workers. This group forms part of the Permanent Way Department, which consists of Platelayers, Patrol Gangers and Mobile Gangers. The Union argues that five workers now on the Platelayers' rate should be regraded to Mobile Ganger and that the Supervisor/Mobile Ganger should receive additional payment to maintain the differential.
Management rejected the Union's claim. It stated that, in August, 2000, a reorganisation agreement was concluded in the Permanent Way Department which provided for substantial pay increases for the claimants. Labour Court Recommendations 16891 - 16899 has dealt with pay comparisons within the Company.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 25th of January, 2002 under section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 30th of April, 2002.
3. 1. The workers concerned should be re-designated with the rate of pay equivalent to the Mobile Gangers in the Permanent Way Department.
2. The claimants carry out work for the purpose of protecting the railway line along the coast where there are extremely high embankments overlooking the railway line.
3. This group of workers are highly skilled. They are trained by outside consultants following which an examination is required and a certificate is issued.
4. These workers are continuously on call and are always available to respond to emergency situations.
5. Insurance companies have put a loading on their mortgage protection policy because of the type of work they perform.
4. 1. The workers were part of a reorganisation agreement in August, 2000 which provided for substantial pay increases for the claimants.
2. Any concession of this claim would jeopardise, not only the Permanent Way agreement, but also other agreements pertaining to groupings with links to that department.
3. This group of workers has always been included as part of any agreement affecting Permanent Way workers or Rail Operative workers and have benefited from all pay increases involved in these agreements.
4. The claim for Mobile Gangers rate in respect of these employees is inappropriate as Mobile Gangers have a supervisory and safety role, which includes supervision and responsibility for the safety of their colleagues.
5. The responsibilities associated with these employees are properly and appropriately reflected in their grading as Platelayer.
In Recommendations 16891 to 16899, the Court sought to put in place pay determination arrangements based on internal comparison and previously established pay relationships. This recommendation, which was accepted by the parties, was made against the background of industrial relations instability caused, to a significant degree, by fragmented negotiating structures leading to claims and counter claims based on perceived relativities.
The approach recommended by the Court and accepted by the parties was intended to lead to the unification of negotiating structures based on established pay linkage between different grades and categories of staff. In the Court's view the pursuance of category re-grading claims, such as that presently before the Court is inconsistent with that approach.
It is accepted that those associated with the present claim are, and always have been part of the Permanent Way Grade. In all circumstances the Court does not see any basis on which it could recommend concession of the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd May, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.