INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LIMERICK COUNTY COUNCIL
(REPRESENTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES BOARD)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Payment of meal allowance.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of its members employed by Limerick County Council as General Operatives, Gangers and Plant Operatives for payment of a meal allowance.
Currently the General Operatives receive an eating on site allowance of €1.43 per day by way of compensation for the lack of canteen facilities. Craftpersons receive a meal allowance if they work away from base for long periods. General Operatives qualify for this allowance only if they are working with a craftperson.
The Union's claim is for payment of a meal allowance to the General Operatives regardless of whether they work with a craftperson or not.
The Council rejects the claim stating that the eating on site allowance is the appropriate allowance for the workers concerned.
Local discussions could not resolve the issue. The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement could not be reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 20th of June, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 13th of November, 2002, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The workers concerned are being discriminated against and this is unacceptable.
2. The workers concerned frequently work all day and in excess of thirty miles from base with an allowance of €1.43. They should receive the meal allowance already being paid to craftworkers.
4. 1. The eating on site allowance is the appropriate allowance paid to the workers concerned as agreed in 1986 between the parties.
2. The claim cannot be conceded. It is cost increasing and is precluded under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
The Court would refer the parties to Recommendation LCR17177, which dealt with a similar issue. In that recommendation the Court recommended that the anomaly identified be dealt with through the parallel benchmarking process. The Court further recommended that if the anomaly is not resolved through that process, the dispute could be referred back to the Court.
The Court recommends that the same approach be adopted in relation to the present claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27th November, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.