INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CENTRAL BANK OF IRELAND
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Compensation for loss of overtime.
2. Following a significant reduction in the volume of euro banknotes produced in the Print Department the Bank decided to cease all overtime working with effect from December, 2003. The Union's claim on behalf of Machine and General assistants employed in the services/ cleaning area in the Print Department refers to the loss of regular and rostered overtime which is outlined as follows;
4 hours cleaning duties one day per week, generally from 5.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. which involved a team of 4 workers plus a supervisor, and
1 hour per morning from 7.30 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. involving one worker.
Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held but agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 23rd June, 2004 in accordance with Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 15th September, 2004.
3. 1. Since the early 1970's the claimants have regularly worked large amounts of overtime. This consisted of production related overtime which varied depending on production levels but also guaranteed overtime which had to be worked regardless of production levels.
2. With the reduction in the demand for euro banknotes, production related overtime ceased but the Bank also introduced a flexi-time system. Management took advantage of this situation to switch cleaning, which was always done on overtime, to being done on flat time.This was reluctantly accepted by the claimants who sought compensation for loss of earnings.
3. The Bank conceded loss of earnings to this group previously, when the Mint Department went on shift.
4. While Management keeps emphasising the reduction requirement for printing banknotes it must be emphasised that staff have cooperated with the redeployment of a number of workers to other departments to alleviate this.
5. It is unsustainable for the Bank to try and justify the removal of these earnings without paying compensation to cushion the loss. The Union seeks an appropriate level of compensation to reflect the sudden and significant drop in the level of earnings enjoyed by the claimants for the past thirty years.
4. 1. The reduction in the euro banknote production stems from the decisions made by the European Central Bank. In adjusting to the present operating environment Management has sought to maintain staff numbers and continue to pay machine rates and maintain differentials. There are no gains accruing to the Bank from the elimination of overtime.
2. Work has been organised to reflect the current production environment. Duties such as general cleaning, which could not be carried out when machines are operating, has been absorbed into day operations because of greater machine down time. A flexible morning start for staff between 7.30. a.m. and 8.30 a.m. has accommodated the hour's work that was previously carried out as overtime working.
3. Management has also sought to use its staff resources as effectively and economically as possible in the face of uncertainty about future production outputs. The Bank is seeking to maintain staff numbers and rates of pay.The Bank also continues to meet the pay awards under the Sustaining Progress Agreement. This is being done at a significant cost to the Bank as there is substantial downtime at present.
4. Management has advised staff that should banknote outputs revert to previous levels overtime working would be re-introduced.
5. The Bank has always met the conditions of the I.P.F./D.P.G.U. agreement on average holiday overtime. The agreement contains the following,
'In the event of overtime diminishing or being eliminated by reason of the market or customer demands, there will be no consequential claims for loss of overtime earnings'.
The Court, having heard the submissions made by the parties, takes the view that this claim is covered by the terms of the I.P.F. / D.P.G.U. Agreement, which is an industry agreement, and therefore cannot be conceded. The Court recommends accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th September, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.