INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Compensation for move, removal expenses, scope of agreement, timing of VER package.
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between Teagasc, and the group of Unions (SIPTU, IMPACT and AMICUS) in relation to a compensation for relocation.
In 2003, Senior Management outlined a rationalisation plan due to an expected funding cut of €15m by the Government. This resulted in the sale of Teagasc headquarters and a compulsory relocation to other premises, either in Dublin or the new headquarters in Galway.
The Company made an offer of compensation for relocation which was unacceptable to the Unions. The Union are seeking €333 per additional mile, the Company are offering €102 per additional mile(home to new headquarters less home to old headquarters)
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 6th of September, 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 2nd of December, 2004. the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The amount of compensation offered i.e. €102 per additional mile is inadequate as the equivalent in pounds to that amount was agreed by the predecessors of Teagasc (An Foras Talontas) in the early 1980's with regard to compensation for relocation. It is unnaceptable to use this formula without having regard to the erosion of money values since then.
4. 1 As a result of the rationalisation plan, staff employed by Teagasc are being offered the most generous package of options available in the public service i.e. (a) VER package or (b) removals circular or (c) payment of €102 per additional mile or (d) relocation to a more suitable location where feasible. If option (d) is accepted staff may still avail of (b) and (c) where available.
It is noted that Teagasc has obtained approval to depart from the strict terms of Department of Finance circular 6/89 on the basis of the exceptional circumstances occasioned by the rationalisation programme agreed by the authority. Consequently, this case can be distinguished from other cases in which the Court considered similar claims in the Non-Commercial State Sector.
The Court further notes that the offer of €102 per additional mile was based on a formula, previously established, which used civil service mileage rates as the basis of calculation. In the Court's view it is unreasonable to adopt this formula, as a solution to the current problem, without having regard to the erosion of money values in the period since it was established.
Whilst it is not entirely clear as to when this formula was first adopted, the Court recommends that the rate per additional mile be adjusted by reference to the average increases in the civil service mileage rate, using 1990 as the base year for the purpose of calculation.
The Court further recommends that the payment accruing be paid in a single lump-sum.
The Court does not recommend any other adjustments in the Authority's offer.
The Court makes this recommendation having regard to the special circumstances pertaining in this case. It is made on the understanding that it does not establish a precedent and that it will not be relied upon or quoted in support of claims elsewhere in the public service.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
22nd December, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.