INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Junior craftsperson on days replacing shift mechanic.
2. In 1993 an Agreement was reached between Bus Átha Cliath and the Craft Unions which introduced the position of Lead Hand. This position replaced both Chargehand and Acting Supervisor designations. Under the Agreement relief is provided for shift mechanics by the junior mechanic on day work (in the absence of any other local arrangements).
The case before the Court relates to a dispute between the Union and Management over the Company trying to force a junior craftsperson on days to take on the responsibilities of lead hand when replacing a shift mechanic.
The issue was referred to the Labour Court on the 8th October, 2004, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 18th January, 2005.
The Union agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
3. 1.The2000 Craftworkers Agreement makes it quite clear that shift mechanics and not day mechanics would have to undertake lead hand duties.
2.In circumstances where shift mechanics have opted off shift a junior mechanic must take up the vacancy if there are no applicants for the vacancy.
3. The Union does not accept that a junior mechanic who covers a shift as a last resort should have to take on lead hand responsibilities as well.
4. 1. The 2000 Craftworkers Agreement requires junior day mechanics to take up shift vacancy and undertake lead hand duties as required by the reduction in Shift Supervisors.
2. A Bus Átha Cliath garage could not function on any other basis as the lead hand has sole responsibility for the garage on a shift without an appointed Supervisor.
3. As the junior relief staff are obliged to cover the shift mechanic they are clearly required to cover all the duties of the shift mechanic including the lead hand duties.
The dispute before the Court relates to difficulties in filling the role of leadhand on a relief basis, following the Company's decision to reduce the number of supervisors. It is accepted that under the agreement reached between the parties in 2000 that as a result of this reduction, the shift mechanic is required to perform the duties of the leadhand. The agreement also states that in the absence of volunteers the junior (day) mechanic must cover the shift mechanic's absence periods. Management state that implicit in this agreement is the requirement for the day mechanics taking over the duties of the shift mechanics, to also take over the leadhand duties and responsibilities.
The Union maintains that while junior mechanics have no problem covering for the shift mechanic per se, but for those who do not wish to take on the leadhand duties they have no facility to opt out - unlike the shift mechanics.
The Company are of the view that "someone has to perform the duties" and if the shift mechanic is either not available or opts not to undertake the duties on a permanent basis, then the Company has no other option but to insist that the junior mechanic undertakes these duties.
The Court is of the view that it is illogical for the Company to insist that the most junior person take on all the duties associated with the supervisory position and "take sole responsibility for the garage", in order to facilitate the Company's requirement for a smaller number of supervisory positions.
The Union has put forward the view that a panel of interested mechanics should be established, from which leadhand duties could be allocated. (Under the terms of the 1993 agreement which introduced the position of leadhand, a provision existed for the establishment of a panel to cover for absent supervisors, which has never been established).
In the scenario outlined at the hearing, the Court is of the view that management need to manage the situation, therefore the Court recommends that discussions should take place between the parties with a view to putting in place a workable solution to management's requirements to have a supervisory/leadhand role fulfilled at all times.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th January, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.