INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
GO PLANT ENVIRONMENTAL (IRELAND) LTD
- AND -
AGEMO TRADE GROUP
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Subsistence allowance / rates of pay / overtime.
2. The Company is a rapidly expanding company and a major operator in the road cleaning business in Dublin and surrounding areas. It employs 14 drivers, 2 service engineers, 2 administration staff and a General Manager at its Dublin depot. In December, 2003 a number of employees joined the Union following which the Union sought a meeting with the Company to discuss some of their members concerns.The Company does not negotiate directly with trade unions. Since the initial contact between the Union and the Company a number of issues have been resolved.
Issues concerning rates of pay, overtime and subsistence payment were referred to the Labour Court on the 18th of March, 2004 in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 7th of July, 2004.
The Union agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
3. 1.The system of paying a basic hourly rate for all hours worked including those 'billed out' is unacceptable to the Union's members. Workers are unsure of what take-home pay to expect each week.
2. The Union is seeking to have overtime paid at time and a half after 5.00p.m. up to 8.00p.m., and double time paid thereafter. Saturday work to be paid at time and a half from 8.00a.m. to 12.00 and thereafter double time. All early morning hours worked before 8.00a.m. to be paid at double time.
3. The Union is also seeking the payment of a subsistence allowance to compensate workers for being unable to return to the depot for meals or breaks during the working day.
4. 1.The operating systems, procedures and methods of payment and employee duties are identical to those that have been successfully adopted throughout the Company's various branches over the last 35 years.
2. All workers are guaranteed a minimum of 40 hours work a week. If a vehicle is 'billed out' for more than 40 hours then the driver operating that vehicle is paid for the corresponding number of hours.
3. The Company does not pay subsistence to its drivers but is investigating the matter with the Revenue Commissioners.
A number of issues were referred to the Court under Section 20 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 by the Union. At the hearing the Union clarified that as some of the issues referred had been addressed by the company in the meantime, at this stage the only issues before the Court were: -
-rates of pay, overtime premia and subsistence allowance
Rates of Pay
The Union sought a change in the company’s payment structure, the introduction of a basic hourly rate of €13.20 for drivers and the application of future national wage agreements. The Company explained that the method of paying drivers was not based on the typical arrangement of paying an hourly rate for a set number of hours per week but is based on paying a guaranteed minimum rate of €400 for 40 hours per week above which the drivers receive payments dependent on the number of hours billed to the client. It stated that this could result in drivers being paid on average 20% to 40% in excess of the guaranteed minimum.
The Court is satisfied having examined the actual earnings of drivers over a period of one year that this method of payment yields on average, substantially in excess of the guaranteed minimum and is not out of line. Therefore, the Court does not recommend in favour of the Union’s claim for the introduction of a new payment structure with a basic hourly rate of €13.20.
The Court recommends that pay increases in line with Sustaining Progress II should apply with effect from 1st August 2004.
The method of paying drivers is an atypical method, as described above, and is a payment system which rewards drivers, normally at an enhanced rate, for hours worked in excess of a guaranteed minimum on Monday to Friday; it pays time plus one half on Saturdays and double time on Sundays. Having examined the circumstances of this case, the Court does not recommend concession of the Union’s claim.
The company does not operate a subsistence allowance scheme for drivers. The Court recommends that the company should immediately introduce such an allowance. This allowance should be in line with that paid to drivers in similar industries.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
22nd September, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.