INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
BORD NA MONA
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Changes in pay terms.
2. The dispute concerns 12 drivers working in the Company's Horticultural Fleet. The Company proposes to change the drivers' payment system which includes the removal of a trailer exchange allowance. The claimants received, and continue to receive, a trailer exchange allowance which was paid to them for the manual activation of loading of goods from their vehicles. With the introduction of new and more efficient high tech vehicles this process no longer needs to be carried out, and therefore, the Company sees no basis for the continuation of this allowance.The Union rejected the proposal. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). Conciliation conferences were held in October, 2002. Proposals put forward by the Industrial Relations Officer, which involved a new all-encompassing payment per load mile, a daily fall back rate and a buy-out of the trailer exchange allowance payment, recommended for acceptance by the parties,were rejected following a ballot of the workers. On the 26th November, 2002 the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission. A Court hearing was held on the 19th February, 2003.
3. 1.The Union agrees on the need to simplify the payment system, that additional payments for idle travel, delays and transfer exchange would be terminated and that a new single rate would be introduced. The LRC proposal provided for €1.38 per load mile. This was a reduction of 21% on the previous average rate. A payment less than € 1.45 per load mile is not acceptable to the Union.
2.While the entire Company policy is based increasingly on incentive pay, the claimants are the only group of workers whose incentive pay is being decreased.
3.The fallback rate proposed at the LRC was €89 per day. This is essentially the artic rate plus shift rate. It would seriously impact on drivers' earnings and would act as a disincentive. The fall back rate should be calculated on an hourly basis in order to inject some equity into the payment system. This fall back rate should become the pensionable wage as it is now the minimum guaranteed earnings for drivers.
4. The claimants would also expect the front loading of the first phase of the new National Pay Agreement in line with the proposal of the LRC.
5.The claimants are prepared to forego the allowance if the buy out payment in the LRC proposal is increased to a sum equal to twice the annual loss.
4. 1.The Company has been seeking, over four years, to introduce negotiated change to the road transport operations. The costs of internal road transport are too high and are out of line with external benchmarks.
2. The programme of change implemented by Management, over the past five years, has been a vital part in establishing the Company on a viable footing in an extremely competitive market. The change programme has impacted on all categories across the business.
3. The Company accepts that the LRC proposals have the potential to reduce drivers earnings. However, their earnings have been maintained on an artificially high level for the past four years. They are the highest paid operatives in the Company. Implementation of the LRC proposals would still leave drivers as the highest paid operatives.
4. The LRC proposal, while not realising the level of savings that are warranted, is a reasonable attempt to resolve the issue.
The Court is conscious that serious efforts over four years have been made by both parties to resolve this dispute. It is noted that the proposals emanating from conciliation have not been accepted but the Court is of the view that sufficient progress has been made to achieve a result and recommends that the industrial relations offer of 21st October, 2002, should be amended as follows:-
The all-encompassing rate should be increased to € 1.40 per load mile and the once off payment should be increased to €36,000 gross. All other terms and conditions of the proposals remain.
The Court recommends that both sides should accept the amended proposals in full and final settlement of this dispute.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th March, 2003.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.