INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
WATERFORD CITY COUNCIL
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Travel allowance claim and issue concerning personnel records.
2. The worker was employed with Waterford City Council and claims that the Council unfairly and incorrectly administered a Fixed Travel Allowance Scheme, which resulted in financial loss to him. The claim could not be resolved at local level. The worker referred his claim to the Labour Court on the 2nd September, 2003 in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 27th November, 2003.
3.1 The Council refused to honour and comply with the workers terms and conditions of employment.
2. The Council unfairly administered the Fixed Travel Allowance Scheme in this case. The worker did not carry out any of his normal duties or functions associated with his appointed post while on loan to another office. While trying to reconcile his travel account for periods from 06/03/02 to 15/03/02 and from 08/04/02 to 04/06/02, he relied on, and referred to, part 3(b) of the Council's Fixed Travel Scheme. He submitted that the dates identified, are defined as abnormal travel periods and are not to be used to support an application.
3. A letter accompanying the completed application was sent to the Personnel office on 12th August, 2003. The worker's Senior Engineer had full knowledge of the situation and certified the application, as he was the appropriate officer to do so under the conditions of the Scheme. Personnel sent a letter to the Senior Engineer requesting that he check the log in the context of the requirements of the Scheme and certify same. The Senior Engineer recertified and resigned the application, and returned same to Personnel.
4. The worker has repeatedly sought from Personnel by phone and e-mail, explanations, clarifications, reviews and requested appeals from the Council, none of which have been given serious consideration.
4.1 The Council's Fixed Travel Allowance Scheme stipulates that the calculations are based on a continuous 13 weeks mileage incurred on official duty.
2. A 13 week continuous period from week 1 to 13 would have placed the worker on the 2nd point of the mileage bands granting a Fixed Travel Allowance of €1,293 per annum.
3. In the interest of fairness the Council agreed to exclude the continuous 10 weeks period for the purposes of calculation when the worker was engaged on other official duties. The worker could have opened a new log over a continuous 13 week period.
4. The calculations for the Fixed Travel Allowance Scheme for all other employees is based on a 13 week log. To make a further exemption in this workers case would create a precedent and would defeat the purpose of the Fixed Travel Allowance Scheme.
Having regard to the manner in which the fixed allowance is normally determined the Court does not consider that the City Council acted unreasonably.
Accordingly, the Court does not recommend concession of the worker's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.