INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Company change to rostering arrangements.
2. NTL bought the Cablelink Company in 1999. At that stage there were 36 technicians in the Service Department who covered 6 areas in Dublin. The technicians were rostered on call to do a 1 in 6 standby roster i.e. every 6 weeks they were on call to work 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. Monday to Friday and work until 9.30 p.m.on Saturday/Sunday. The Company proposed changes to the above roster by introducing a 1 in 4 roster on Saturday and a 1 in 8 standby roster. It also proposed increasing the number of technicians from 36 to 48. The technicians accepted these changes. In May, 2001, the Company made further proposals including changing to 4 areas with 12 technicians in each and some changes to the roster. The Union agreed to a 10 week trial period. In November, 2001, the Company proposed further changes, this time going from a 1 in 4 roster on Saturday to 1 in 3, and from a 1 in 8 standby to 1 in 9. The Company was also seeking a number of redundancies. The Union is unhappy with this proposal, particularity the Saturday roster. It put forward an alternative roster which was rejected by the Company. The technicians have agreed to continue working the changes as per May, 2001, under protest, but will not agree to the latest proposals. This has resulted in the Company having to hire a number of contractors.
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 25th of October, 2002, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. In March, 2002, the technicians offered to cover the jobs in the standby roster on an overtime basis. This was rejected by management who instead brought in contractors at a huge cost.
2. The Company has created a lot of the problems by making 5 workers redundant in the technical area and yet replacing them with contractors.
3. The Union believes that by increasing the current number of technicians from 39 to 40 it could solve some of the problems for the 1 in 3 roster on Saturdays.
4. The technicians have cooperated at all times with the Company and they are tired of continuous changes which cause difficulties and disrupt existing systems.
4. 1. The Company's priority is giving the best possible service to its customers and this means that it has to be flexible in meeting demands. The Company is facing increasing competition from the SKY network.
2. The dispute has been ongoing since March, 2002, and has cost the Company significantly in terms of contractor charges.
3. In April, 2000, the Union members agreed acceptance of new terms and conditions of employment. These terms included flexibility where required. The workers were compensated by enhanced pay/benefits.
The Court, while noting the Company argument for ongoing flexibility to meet the demands of its customers, is conscious of the employees' view that they have given sufficient flexibility.
The Court, taking into account all of the information supplied, recommends that the increase in technician cover, required at 3 per Saturday, be achieved by :-
(a) Hiring of one extra technician to give 3 technicians every second Saturday.
(b) Re-rostering all technicians to give 3 technicians on the alternative Saturday.
The effect of these two changes would be to give cover of three technicians every Saturday, but would only affect existing technicians by an extra 1½ Saturdays per year.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th November, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.