INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(2), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Alternative to the TA days.
2. The matter concerned relates to the "alternative to the Transatlantic days" (TA) arising from the decision of the National Implementation Body (NIB) concerning the Des Casey Arbitration Report of 5th December, 2002, finalised in May 2004. The matter concerns issues relating to the "residual shortfall of £375,000 Irish pounds" and how this shortfall issue should be addressed. The Union maintains that no shortfall exists on the "alternative to TA days". They are seeking a date from the Company for the implementation of the PBS system, and that a review take place as envisaged by the Survival Plan Agreement six months following the implementation of the PBS system to ascertain whether or not the changes in the Survival Plan are still necessary.
The Company proposed alternative cost saving initiatives to address the shortfall in savings delivered.
- Discontinue the planning of a 9th day off for Cabin Crew during the applicable roster periods
- Single night stop at Los Angeles
- Duty restrictions, day preceding transatlantic flights
- Cease Crew meals on shorthaul flights.
The issues could not be resolved at local level. The parties agreed to refer the matter to the Labour Court on the 4th October, 2004 in accordance with Section 20(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 2nd February, 2005.
3.1 The Union believes that there is now no shortfall in the alternative savings required as agreed in the amended Survival Plan.
2. When the Survival Plan was written in 2001 there were 1800 Cabin Crew staff, 400 were expected to go through unpaid leave or redundancy. In 2004 there is a little over 1000 Cabin Crew. Why should a little over 1000 Cabin Crew be expected to contribute savings, which were envisaged to be spread over 1,400 Cabin Crew.
3. The Company failed to honour its obligations under the terms of the Survival Plan with reference to the introduction of a PBS rostering system.
4. The failure of the Company to implement the agreed PBS system has meant that the review envisaged under the Survival Plan has not yet taken place.
5. The Cabin Crew have maintained the schedule by increased productivity over and above what was envisaged in the Survival Plan because of the further losses of Cabin Crew in 2003 and 2004 (139 posts in total).
4.1 The Company do not accept that the Union has given more than any other category within the Survival Plan and that they were treated differently to other groups. They do accept that progress has been made and a degree of change delivered.
2. The Survival Plan central and local issues impacted significantly on all groups. Some roles were abolished while many saw significant reduction in their take home pay. The challenge faced during this period was accepted, as the underlining position was that everything would be fair, equitable and transparent between all groups.
3. Many central issues were returned after a period of time to staff such as annual leave reduction and overtime premia reinstated. Progress has also been made around PBS, a critical issue for the Union.
4. The purpose of the cost reduction measures was to deliver ongoing cost savings in order to ensure the Airline remains in business and not to go the way of some other Airlines.
5. One of the key ingredients to the success of any cost reduction plan relating to staff is that it is seen to be equitable, fairly shouldered and transparent across all categories of employment. The Survival Plan was no different. After long and exhaustive negotiations with each group the Plan was implemented.
The case before the Court requires the Court to determine if there is a shortfall due from the Cabin Crew arising from the Survival Plan 2001, as identified by the Arbitrator Mr. Des Casey in his report dated 17th May 2004 and if so how that shortfall is to be addressed. The amount (agreed between the parties) identified by the Arbitrator was £407,000. The decision of the Court is brought under Section 20(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and is binding on both parties.
The Union maintains that Cabin Crew have already contributed the value of the residual shortfall and states that the Company's failure to implement the PBS system as recommended in the Survival Plan has placed additional productivity burden on the Cabin Crew. The Union also refers to a number of savings which Cabin Crew have contributed to since December, 2002 coupled with the further reduction in Cabin Crew numbers in 2003 and 2004.
The Company in its Survival Plan had sought an amendment to the current number of days off following Transatlantic Flights, however, as no agreement could be reached on this issue at the time, it was agreed that alternative cost saving options would be considered. It is the Company's contention that the Cabin Crew have not met their commitment in terms of cost saving measures under the Survival Plan and accept that while progress has been made and a degree of change delivered that in comparison to other categories within the Company, it falls short. In return for the residual shortfall the Company require the discontinuation of the planned '9th Day' off during the applicable roster period or alternative cost saving proposals put forward at the Court hearing.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court is of the view that a residual shortfall was identified in 2002 which at the time was valued at £407,000 and that this amount was owed by the Cabin Crew under the terms of the Survival Plan.
However, the Court is satisfied that certain events of a combined nature have taken effect since, which may have addressed that shortfallviz.the PBS system has not been finalised; Cabin Crew numbers have reduced significantly; other relatively small cost savings measures have taken effect.
Therefore, the Court is not in a position to determine whether the shortfall as identified remains or not. The Court is of the view that considerable progress needs to be carried out on implementing the PBS system in order to evaluate that shortfall. Consequently, the Court will revisit this issue if necessary on completion of the PBS system and other changes envisaged.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th February, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.