INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Rehearing LCR 17604.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of its members employed at the County Councils landfill site for payment of a daily meal allowanceas other staff in the refuse collection services are paid an agreed meal allowance. The dispute was originally referred to the Labour Court in June, 2003, and a Labour Court hearing took place on the 16th September, 2003. The Court referred the parties to Recommendations LCR 17177 and LCR 17329 which dealt with a similar issue and recommended that the anomalies identified be dealt with through the parallel Benchmarking process. If the issue could not be resolved through the process the dispute could be referred back to the Court.
- On the 14th April, 2004, the Union referred the case back to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing took place in Tralee on the 13th July, 2004.
3. 1. The work at the landfill site is very demanding and onerous and the Union are seeking to have its members rewarded in some significant way for the nature of the work they are expected to carry out.
2. The members have to endure extremes in weather during their working day and often have to work in adverse conditions to enable smooth running of the facility.The Union contends that the fairest way of rewarding the members is by payment of a meal allowance to those concerned to bring them on a par with their colleagues.
3. Throughout the refuse collections services, other staff members are paid an agreed meal allowance of €14.34 per day. This allowance applies to lorry drivers, bin collection personnel and transfer station operatives. The members at the landfill site feel quite strongly that they should not be excluded from this arrangement and would consider themselves comparable with the transfer station operatives.
4. 1. The staff at the landfill site are employed in General Operative grades. Historically this grade has been eligible for the eating-on-site allowance and not the meal allowance arising from the National Agreement. This allowance was dealt with in the parallel Benchmarking process and increased from €1.43 to €1.90 per day. It was balloted on and accepted by the Union. The collective agreement has binding effect.
2. The comparison with transfer stations operatives cannot be used as those operatives were transferred from the refuse collection service and the meal allowance was red circled on a personal to holder basis.
3. It is a pay claim precluded under the terms of both Programme for Prosperity and Fairness and Sustaining Progress and the repercussive effects of the claim, if conceded, would be substantial.
There are now well established criteria against which either eating on site or meal allowance is payable in Local Authority Employments nationally. These criteria have not been altered in the recent parallel benchmarking process. The Court does not feel that it could interfere with these established norms.
The workers associated with this claim do not meet the conditions for the payment of meal allowance and in their case eating on site is the appropriate allowance.
Accordingly, the Court cannot recommend concession of the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th July, 2004.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.