INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
FLS AEROSPACE (IRL) LIMITED
- AND -
FLSA CRAFT GROUP OF UNIONS
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Pay and conditions.
2. The Company is engaged in aircraft maintenance and engineering and employs 1425 workers at Dublin Airport .The dispute, concerning 607 craftworkers, arises following the submission of a 30% pay claim and improvement in conditions of craftworkers by the Craft Group of Unions in October, 2000. The Unions claim that the position of craftworkers has fallen out of line with craft workers in Aer Lingus since the crisis in Team Aer Lingus and subsequent sale of the company to FLS Aerospace. The Unions claim that the issues in dispute emanate from the pay freeze and terms set out in LCR 14552, implemented in 1994. The Company made an offer which resolved issues with other groups but the craft unions rejected the offer. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held but agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court in July, 2001 in accordance with Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held in October, 2001. The hearing was adjourned to allow for the serious situation of the business to be assessed by both parties in light of the downturn in international aerospace business following the September, 2001 crisis. In August, 2002 the Court investigated one issue referred to it by the parties concerning shift working terms and conditions of craftworkers (LCR 17258 refers). Subsequent discussions between the parties under the auspices of Independent Facilitators were not successful. In May, 2003 the Unions requested the Court to reconvene to investigate the issues of pay and conditions. A resumed hearing was held on the 5th November, 2003.
3. 1. The craftworkers have fallen significantly behind similar workers in Aer Lingus who are covered by the same agreement.
2. The measures imposed in LCR 14552 may have been necessary in 1994, however, the claimants are long overdue a restoration of appropriate pay and conditions.
3. The craftworkers must have pay restored by some comparator/bench-marking exercise with Aer Lingus. The Unions are willing to discuss ways and means of how better pay can be funded such as the consolidation into basic pay of other payments such as overtime, shift premia, RDA's etc.
4. 1. The Company is striving to maintain competitiveness and viability. It has sustained significant losses in recent years and must return to profitability. The Company has tried to address the issues of pay and conditions of craftworkers. It has paid the terms of the relevant National Agreements.
2. The claimants' previous relativities with Aer Lingus craftworkers terms and conditions do not apply. FLS Aerospace made payments amounting to €56 million to the craftworkers at the time of their transfer from Team Aer Lingus.
3. Management cannot concede the Unions' claim due to the detrimental cost implications and knock-on effects for the Company.
The Court has given serious consideration to the oral and written submissions of both parties.
The Union stated to the Court that the salary position of craftworkers had fallen out of line with similar workers at the airport in Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta since the crisis in Team Aer Lingus and the subsequent sale of the company to FLS Aerospace Limited.
The company indicated to the Court that in 1998 FLS Aerospace Limited became the employer and following a due diligence process, £56 million was paid out to the workforce to deal with all residual matters arising from the transfer from the previous ownership of the company by Team Aer Lingus. Accordingly the Court accepts that the current employer has no responsibility for past matters prior to its acquisition. All previous relativities with Aer Lingus terms and conditions are no longer applicable.
The Court notes that the company has paid all phases of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) and all previous national wage agreements. The company indicated to the Court that it is now battling to maintain competitiveness and viability and must adapt to meet its competitive realities.
Clause 11 of PPF states "no cost increasing claims by Trade Unions or employees for improvements in pay and conditions of employment, other than those provided in Clauses 3& 5, will be made or processed during the currency of the Agreement".
The Court is of the view that the claim for a catch-up pay increase of 30% on all points of the pay scale is a cost-increasing claim and is consequently debarred under the terms of the PPF. The Court, therefore, does not recommend concession of the claim.
However, having considered the points raised by both sides, the Court is of the view that scope exists for the parties to engage in dialogue on the implementation of cost cutting self-financing measures, savings from which could provide for improvements in pay on a cost neutral basis. The Court recommends that the parties should jointly explore these matters, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission if requested by both sides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.