INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
KILDARE COUNTY COUNCIL
(REPRESENTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES BOARD)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Consultation on use of contractors.
2. Due to problems with on-street and illegal parking in Newbridge, Co Kildare, the Kildare County Council introduced new by-laws to allow for the introduction of pay and display services in Newbridge. In accordance with public procurement procedures, tender advertisements were placed in national newspapers and a successful tenderer was identified.
The Union were advised in writing in November, 2003, of the proposed new service and of the successful tenderer. It was proposed to commence the new service in January, 2004. The Union advised the County Council of its' opposition to the introduction of the service.
There is one Traffic/Litter Warden employed in Newbridge and her terms and conditions of employment remain unchanged.
Local discussions could not resolve the issue. The dispute 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 3rd of February, 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 16th of March, 2004.
3. 1. The County Council is privatising the Traffic Warden service without prior consultation or agreement with the Union.
2. The County Council have not proved to the Union that it is cheaper to employ contractors than direct labour.
3. The Union believe that the issue of privatisation of Traffic Warden duties is a national issue and should be referred to the National Implementation Body of Sustaining Progress.
4. 1.All local authorities have traditionally provided services by the use of a combination of direct labour and contractors.
2.The County Council in introducing this new service followed the terms of the Procedural Agreement for Contractors.
3. The County Council attempted to engage the Union in the consultation process. The Union indicated its' intention to engage in industrial action.
The claim referred to the Court concerned the contracting out of traffic warden duties in Newbridge without prior consultation and agreement.
The Court considered the points raised by both sides. As this contracting out involves the privatisation of a service not previously privatised, not only in County Kildare, but also at national level, the Court is of the view that its introduction required full consultation with the Union. The County Council accepted that no consultation had taken place on this matter, until after a successful tenderer had been selected to carry out the service of paid parking in Newbridge.
Management are of the view that they complied with the terms of the 1997 Analogue Agreement, which allows for the introduction of such contracting out and provides for notification to the Union, once the successful tenderer had been selected.
The Court notes that the agreement allows for the Local Authority to provide services as economically, efficiently and effectively as possible subject at all times to financial resources and in compliance with statutory obligations, and with the Local Authority using competitive direct labour to the greatest possible advantage.
In all of these circumstances and in light of the evident and potential industrial relations problems which have arisen due to the lack of consultation on this issue, the Court recommends that the parties should now enter into a consultation process on the privatisation of paid parking in Newbridge.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
29th March, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.