INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Overtime payment for 70 to 78 hour working.
2. The Union are in dispute with Aer Lingus in regard to payment of overtime for 70 - 78 hour working in the case of Cabin Crew. The Union's case is that staff are paid on the basis of being rostered for 35 hours per week or 70 hours per fortnight. Situations arise whereby staff are required to work up to 78 hours, for example, delays or other unforeseen circumstances. The Union claims that given the increase in short haul routes the instances of staff working over 70 hours per fortnight were becoming more commonplace. There is no payment for hours worked in excess of 70 hours but a system of delay credit operates.
Following negotiations, the Company put forward a proposal whereby it would be prepared to pay overtime for hours worked in excess of 70 hours in return for agreement to roster staff up to 75 hours. Delay credits would not operate where overtime is paid.
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 22nd November, 2004 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 2nd February, 2005.
3.1 The Union are seeking that Cabin Crew be paid overtime rate as proposed:- time and a half for the first 5 hours, (70-75) and double time for hours between 75 and 78 in a roster fortnight. The Union are also requesting that these payments be made with effect from the 1/05/02 when the Survival Plan had been implemented and when the claim was lodged.
2. The Union argues that no worker should be expected to work for up to eight hours for nothing, currently the Cabin Crew do this. The only payments made are credits for delays.
3. It is possible to be delayed every working day by half an hour and receive no payment whatsoever. It is also possible to work up to eight hours even without delays because of reserves etc.
4. In 2001 there were 1800 Cabin Crew staff, now there are over a 1000. The result of the productivity made by the Cabin Crew is that on a more regular basis they work more than 70 hours as detailed in their contract and pay scale.
4.1 The Company maintains the Union's claim that Cabin Crew are "regularly" operating over 70 hours in a fortnight is untrue.
2. Cabin Crew are paid for 70 hours duty per fortnight and in addition receive payment in the form of credits for various categories of disruption (regardless of hours worked).
3. The Company maintains that given this level of extra compensation, Cabin Crew are sufficiently rewarded for any extra hours worked, including those over 70 hours per fortnight.
4. The Company also maintains that a further overtime payment would often equate to a double payment for work. At the very least, there would be significant overlap.
5. Cabin Crew's pay rates are already significantly above market norms and above the rates paid by competitors. Therefore, the Company's position is that a further overtime payment is not sustainable.
The claim before the Court is for payment of overtime for hours worked in excess of 70-hour fortnight for Cabin Crew. the Union specified the claim as:
- "time and a half for the first 5 hours (70-75) and double time for hours between 75 and 78 in a roster fortnight".
The Union sought these payments with retrospective effect to 1st May 2002, when the Survival Plan was implemented and the claim lodged.
A registered agreement between the parties states that"the Cabin Crew roster will be planned on the basis of 70 hour fortnights with the capability of operating 39 hours in any week without penalty"which facilitated the Cabin Crew to operate up to 78 hours per fortnight for operation reasons.
At the Court hearing the Company indicated that they were prepared to concede the Union's claim from an acceptance date, with the proviso that it could roster staff up to 75 hours in a fortnight for which it was prepared to pay double time.
The Court understands the Company's offer to be as follows:-
- In an unplanned roster, payment of time and a half for the first five hours worked in excess of 70 hours per fortnight and double time for hours between 75 and 78 per fornight.
- In a planned roster, payment of double time for rostered hours up to 75 hours per fortnight.
- 'Credits' to apply for hours up to 70 hours per fortnight only.
- The limit of 78 hours per fortnight to continue to apply.
The Court is of the view that the Company's proposal is reasonable in the circumstances and recommends that it should now be put to the members for ballot. The Court notes that the arrangement currently in place pays 'credits' for all hours worked in excess of 70 hours per fortnight; consequently the Court does not see merit in the Union's claim for retrospection.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th February, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.