INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
JURYS HOTEL, BALLSBRIDGE
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Payment for overtime working.
2. The dispute concerns the Union's claim for the payment of overtime to employees working in the Maintenance Department. Currently these employees who work overtime are compensated by time off in lieu with no additional payment being made. This has applied since March, 2001. The Union claims that prior to that time employees received payment for working overtime and that the time in lieu arrangement was a temporary one agreed with the Company at the time because of the difficulties the industry was facing due to international events. The Union has sought the restoration of payment for overtime since April, 2002. Management rejected the claim stating that the claimants' contracts of employment includes a clause which provides that " additional hours worked over and above the normal roster will be compensated by way of time in lieu with no additional payment made." Such contracts were introduced in 1996. The Company states that overtime was only paid prior to March, 2001 because the hotel was very busy and time in lieu was not feasible then. 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 April, 2003 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 17th July, 2003.
3. 1. The issue of reinstatement of payment for overtime work, set aside due to events affecting the industry, has been complicated by Management's decision to introduce disputed contracts of employment in respect of three workers.
2. The practice of time in lieu for overtime work has generally operated on the basis of a voluntary arrangement mutually agreed between workers and management.
3. The disputed contracts were not discussed or negotiated with the Union.
4. The disputed clause could be deleted and normal arrangements apply. The refusal of Management to revert to the pre-crisis situation, of payment for overtime, has damaged the goodwill built up over the years.
4. 1. Prior to March, 2001 the industry experienced a boom and Management had difficulty in identifying periods whereby time accrued could be paid back. Consequently Management decided to treat this area through a combination of both time in lieu and paid overtime.
2. The contracts of employment of the claimants specifically provide for time in lieu in respect of overtime worked and, since the decline in the business, the Company has applied the time in lieu method for these contracts.
3. The Company sought to discuss the claimants' contracts with the Union without success.
4. Compensating workers for overtime earned by way of time in lieu is not unique to the Maintenance Department.
5. Concession of the Union's claim would have significant cost implications for the Company.
It is clear that there now exists 2 type of contracts, one continuing to pay overtime for additional hours worked, and the claimants' post 1996 contracts, paying time in lieu for additional hours worked.
The issue of a suspension of terms and conditions due to trading difficulties is to a large degree irrelevant to the dispute.
The Company position is that the claimants' contracts, post 1996 contracts, clearly state that they will get the time off in lieu, with no additional payments being made.
The Union argues that changes in contracts, post 1996, were not negotiated with the union.
The Court is satisfied that the Union had an opportunity to become involved in the discussions on the changed contracts but chose not to get involved.
The Court, having considered all the information before it, does not recommend concession of the Union's claim in this case
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th July, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.