INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
DUBLIN AIRPORT AUTHORITY (AER RIANTA CORK)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Responsibility allowance.
2. Dublin Airport Authority (formerly Aer Rianta) is a state Company responsible for the operation of the Country's three main airports - Dublin , Shannon and Cork. The dispute concerns Cork Airport. The claim relates to six Aerodrome Fire Officers (AFOs), three of whom have held the grade since 1996, 1998, and 1999 respectively, and three who were appointed in June, 2002. The claim is for a Police supervisory payment. (At present the three long-term workers continue to receive the payment, although the Union claims that the payment is less than it should be. The three AFO's appointed in 2002 have never received it). The payment was first made in 1985, following a conciliation council known as the "Murphy Report" and was made because the AFO's were carrying out a dual supervisory role in both Police and Fire Service. ( In Dublin this work is carried out by two different sets of officers). The payment was intended to be of a temporary nature.
In 1985, the ratio of AFO's to staff was 1:11.5. Today the Union claims that the ratio had almost doubled to 1:20.8 whereas the Company claims that it has halved to 1:4.9. The Union first made the claim in 2002 when the three new AFO's were appointed. The Company stated that, due to major restructuring, the AFO's no longer had the same level of responsibility and that the supervisory payment would be discontinued. The dispute was the subject of two conciliation conferences with the Labour Relations Commission. A buy-out of the payment was discussed but the parties were so far apart that agreement could not be reached. The dispute was then referred to the Labour Court on the 7th of October, 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 25th of November, 2004.
3. 1. The Murphy Report introduced a payment for police supervision duty to AFO's in Cork Airport in recognition of their unique dual role in the Company and in recognition of the disparity within the group of airports in relation to the ratio of AFO to staff supervised in Cork.
2.Payment to AFO's in Cork for police supervision duties was to remain in place pending the agreement of both parties on an alternative supervision arrangement for Cork. No such agreement has been sought by management or reached between the parties.
3. The situation in respect of staff ratios in Cork which gave rise to the payment in the first instance has actually worsened considerably in the intervening years. The ratio has almost doubled to date.
4. 1. The reason for the responsibility payment in 1985 was because of the ratio of staff to AFOs. In 2000, the Company carried out a complete review of staffing/supervisory levels in Cork Airport. This resulted in the appointment of six Sergeants into new supervisory positions, and five Station Officers as a supervisory support to the AFO's. The result is a major decrease in the ration of AFO's to staff. As such, the basis for the original claim is no longer valid.
2. It was clearly stated before the appointment of the three AFO's in 2002 that the Murphy payment would not extend to them. AFO's are well paid for the responsibility they carry. Terms and conditions of emmployment have improved considerably since 1985.
It is clear that the allowance in question was originally intended to be of a temporary nature. The Court accepts that the restructuring agreement concluded between the Company and SIPTU has resulted in the elimination of the purpose for which the allowance was originally introduced. Accordingly, the Company are justified in seeking its discontinuance.
There has, however, been an inordinate delay in undertaking the type of restructuring envisaged when the allowance was agreed. Consequently it cannot now be eliminated without reasonable compensation.
The Court recommends that the allowance be discontinued that those who have been in receipt of it should receive compensation equal to 2.5 times its current annual value. Those appointed as AFO's who have not received the allowance should receive compensation of €2,500 each.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th December, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.