INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Hearing arising from Labour Court Recommendation 17462.
2. In March, 2003 a dispute between the parties concerning, inter alia, the 4% increase under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) was the subject of a Labour Court investigation and recommendation. In LCR 17462 the Court recommended as follows:
" ............The Company has indicated its willingness to pay the 4% payment but seeks changes in return. The Company proposals include items that were in the Survival Plan, items that have been under discussion and new items............The Court is satisfied that the Unions should agree to changes in return for the 4% payment, but not to the extent and range of the changes proposed by the Company........... If any group fails to reach agreement the matter can be referred back to the Court."
Subsequently the Company and the IMPACT Union, representing Cabin Crew, entered discussions on the Company's requirement for the delivery of a quick turnaround of aircraft, particularly on shorthaul routes. Agreement was not reached on the following issues:
1.Pay Bar on shorthaul flights.
3.100% security check by the Cabin Crew.
4.Assistance of Cabin Crew in boarding and deplaning of passengers.
Both parties agreed to refer the issues to the Court for a definitive recommendation. A Court hearing was held on the 24th June, 2003.
3. 1.Pay Bar.Cabin Crew recognise the need for competitiveness and are agreeable to the introduction of a Pay Bar in return for 12% commission. The Company had agreed to this level of commission. The impact of its introduction on shorthaul flights is very significant on Cabin Crew, in terms of increased workload, in view of the reduced crewing levels and reduced service agreed in the Survival Plan. Cabin Crew have also offered to implement Pay Bar on transatlantic routes which will generate increased revenue for the Company
2.Aircraft Tidy.Cabin Crew will not tidy the cabin post-landing. They are not employed to clean or tidy the plane on the ground. This particular function is the responsibility of others. However the Union is prepared to address this issue pre-landing.
3.Security Check.Cabin Crew are agreeable to carry out such a security check, on shorthaul flights at base, within current time constraints.
4.Boarding/Deplaning.At a meeting in May, 2003 a compromise agreement was reached on deplaning whereby Cabin Crew would, on Pier A (Contact Stand), indicate from the door of the plane, the appropriate gate for passengers to enter. The Company confirmed that it no longer required Cabin Crew to participate in Boarding. Within days the Company reneged on the May agreement regarding deplaning.
5. The Union believes that the concessions offered by Cabin Crew represent a real and valuable contribution to the future competitiveness of the Company and entitles the Cabin Crew to the payment of the 4% increase under PPF.
4. 1.Pay Bar.The Company offered 10% of total sales as a gross commission amount, this figure being in line with the agreed rate negotiated with another union in 1998. On Aer Lingus chartered flights, the rate paid is 10% of sales. The Company requires that this be applied across the airline's services. The Union proposal is above the industry norm.
2.Aircraft Tidy.To achieve a quick turnaround the Company requires Cabin Crew to tidy the plane so that it is presentable for oncoming customers on occasions when cleaners cannot be put on the plane. The Union proposal of a revised procedure in the air only, is not acceptable because it does not satisfy the requirement of making the plane presentable for customers on occasions when cleaners do not go on the plane at base.
3.Security Check.The Union's offer of 100% security check of seat pockets, at base, after a thorough clean of the plane by cleaners, does not contribute to a quick turnaround because the Company will not have the plane cleaned on all turnarounds at base.
4.Boarding/Deplaning.Every effort has been made by the Company to address the Union's fear that Cabin Crew will be asked to assist on more occasions than other staff and has put forward a proposal to allay those concerns.
5.Turnaround.The main change sought from all staff is co-operation with quick turnaround of aircraft and all other employee groups have agreed to measures that facilitate this requirement and to amend their agreements accordingly. It requires a team approach with each part of the team being vital to its success. The Company has always identified the Cabin Crew as being key to the quick turnaround team concept working effectively.
The dispute concerns the payment of the 4% element of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, which was due for all categories of staff from October 2002.
In LCR17462 the Court recommended “that the parties enter in to immediate negotiations in order to reach an agreement on a level of change to be implemented in return for the payment”.
Following discussions between the parties the Company outlined the operational requirements in return for payment of the 4% as follows:
- Pay Bar
- 100% Security Check
- Deplaning of Passengers
- Aircraft Tidy
The Court is asked to consider whether the items of change agreed were sufficient for payment of the outstanding 4% due under the P.P.F.
Company / Union Negotiations:
There is agreement for the implementation of a Pay Bar but disagreement on the commission rate that should apply.
100% Security Check:
There is agreement between the parties on this matter.
The Union rejected this proposal on the basis that the role of the Cabin Crew is within the Cabin. They also argue that a compromise proposal made by them was initially accepted but subsequently rejected by management.
Management position is that Deplaning would only be required in situations where no ground crew are available, less than 4% of flights into Dublin.
Cabin Crew view this role to be the responsibility of others, but made a pre-landing proposal to deal with the matter. Management position is that the Union proposal does not meet the requirements to make the plane presentable for customers.
The Court is conscious of the Company requirement to achieve the turnaround time in order to compete with other competitor Companies. However, the Court must also consider the issues before it in the context of what is reasonable for the 4%.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions and taking into account the wider issues involved, competitiveness and turnaround time, recommends that the Company shelve its proposal on Deplaning for the present and that the Union agree to undertake to “tidy of the plane on occasions when cleaners do not go on the plane at base”. The Court understands this tidy to be in context of making the plane presentable and relates to magazines and papers rather than cleaning.
The Court has been presented with conflicting positions in relation to the negotiations that took place on the commission to be paid for the Pay Bar.
Whatever the facts it is clear that there is no agreement between the parties at present on a figure. Given this background it is the Court's view that this would be best resolved between the parties.
The Court therefore recommends that the parties try to reach agreement on a percentage for commission. However, if they fail to do so within 7 days the Court will, on request, recommend a figure.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th July, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.