INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Claim for operation of In Week Special Leave arrangements.
2. The case before the Court concerns the provision of part-time work options available to Cabin Crew employed by Aer Lingus, known as In Week Special Leave (IWSL).
Agreement was reached between the parties in 1997, whereby cabin crew with 5 years permanent service could avail of the IWSL and the Company would recruit permanent part-time staff to cover the period of absence. The qualifying period of service was subsequently reduced to 3 years service.
Since 2001, there have been difficulties in the implementation of the IWSL Agreement, but through local level negotiations and compromise where necessary, the IWSL Agreement was implemented each year.
To date, the 2004 Agreement of IWSL has not been implemented by the Company. The Union is seeking the implementation of the Agreement as a matter of urgency.
The Company have not implementated the Agreement on the basis that the Union have not indicated that they will re-negotiate a new IWSL Agreement going forward.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 29th September, 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 24th November, 2004, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The entitlement to avail of IWSL is contained within the contract of employment of Cabin Crew. It is unacceptable that these workers are unable to plan for childminding and other domestic issues as a result of management refusal to implement an Agreement.
2. In recognition of the difficulties faced by the Company, it was agreed to accept a compromise that 345 Cabin Crew (111 whole-time equivalents) would avail of the IWSL.
3. It is accepted that discussions need to take place with regard to a new Agreement going forward, although it will not be possible to conduct these discussions until the 2004 Agreement has been implemented.
4. 1. The Company are no longer able to recruit permanent part-time cabin crew, which in turn places restrictions on the number of staff that may avail of IWSL. This, together with operational problems and a decline in revenue has caused serious implications for the operation of IWSL.
2. The 2004-2005 Agreement has not been implemented because the Company are not satisfied that the Union will enter into negotiations for a new IWSL Agreement.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court is of the view that the agreement reached on the In Week Special Leave (IWSL) as outlined by the company in its letter to the Union on 9th June 2004 was abona fideagreement, which should have been implemented. However, the Court does not accept that the Union’s letter of 10th June 2004 was grounds for the Company to rescind on the agreement reached on 9th June.
The Court understands the Company’s need to introduce a new agreement on IWSL to take effect from April 2005 and also notes the Union’s willingness to negotiate such an agreement.
The Court recommends that the IWSL arrangements as outlined in 9th June 2004 letter should be implemented with immediate effect for those applicants who have not been able to avail of the arrangements for the 2004/2005 IWSL year.
Both parties indicated their preference to have a third party assist them in their negotiations on a new IWSL agreement. The Court recommends that discussions should commence on the introduction of a new agreement on part-time working for cabin crew, which takes cognisance of the overall Company Business Plan and attempts to facilitate all requests from qualified staff for such an arrangement. The Court recommends that an independent third party should be appointed to act as a facilitator in those discussions and that the process should be completed not later than 31st January 2005. If there is a dispute over the appointment of the third party, then the Court will direct the parties in that regard.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th December, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.