INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(2), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
IRISH AIRLINE PILOTS' ASSOCIATION/IMPACT
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Dispute regarding inequities in overtime (performance) pay as it affects Pilot Instructors.
2. Performance pay was introduced for Pilots following the Pilots' Pay Tribunal of October 2001, and it began to accrue from the 1st of March, 2003. Performance pay rewards pilots for exceeding certain monthly / annualflighthour thresholds - 56 block hours in a four week roster period and 520 block hours annually respectively. The Union's case concerns Instructors who, due to their high level of non-flying training duties, rarely exceed the flight hour thresholds required to trigger performance pay. The Unions are seeking that non-flying Instructor duties should count towards the calculation of performance pay.
At present, Pilots receive basic pay which is paid fortnightly and sector pay (for each flight) which is paid monthly. Instructors receive an annual allowance depending on rank and position. Some Instructor positions involve a mixture of flight and ground-based duties. Whilst instructing in the aeroplane, Instructors receive sector payments. To compensate for loss of sector pay whilst engaged in non-flying duties Instructors earn a daily supplement of €75.22 taxable, which equates to €41.75 net. Any Pilot who flies in excess of the block hours - monthly or annually - is paid for each additional block hour in excess of the thresholds - €75.77 per hour for Captains and €53.04 for Co-Pilots. In 2001, the Company proposed a solution by offering to increase the Instructors' daily supplement from €73.75 to €121.23 (at todays rate). The Union believed that the increase would not compensate the Instructors sufficiently and rejected the proposal.
The Unions first made their claim regarding the Instructors in December, 2003, but it was rejected by the Company. The issue was again raised in September, 2004, and in January, 2005, the parties agreed to refer the case to the Court in accordance with Section 20(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969, and to be bound by the Court's recommendation. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 21st of February, 2005.
3. 1. Performance pay is now in its third year but the Instructors have basically been excluded from it for the first two years.
2. The Instructors operate at a very high standard and have to meet all necessary training requirements.
3. In 2001, there were approximately 100 Instructors. Today there are 37 (plus 12 Line Standard Captains who are not encompassed by this claim). This means that the annual training programme is being achieved with half the number of Instructors being previously employed.
4. The losses involved for the Instructors are very significant. Instructors could do 12/13 weeks' work which is not included for performance pay.
3. 1.The claim is barred under the terms of Sustaining Progress. The Company is operating in an extremely competitive market and must maintain strict cost control if it is to remain competitive.
2. The loss of performance pay for Instructors is not significant when compared to the average line pilot, and the increase in basic Instructors' allowance in the last pay award more than compensates for any loss.
3. Almost all the Instructors did earn some performance pay last year and the fact is that Instructors continue to earn significantly more than their flying colleagues.
4. The Company has put forward a proposal which will address a restructuring of the Instructors' remuneration (details supplied to the Court).
The Court has given careful consideration to the submissions of the parties in this case. In the Court's view the position of the instructor grade in relation to performance pay is anomalous. This anomaly arose, in the main, from the basis upon which the system operates and total exclusion of instruction time from the calculation of block hours for the purposes of the scheme.
in the Court's view, the problem giving rise to this referral should, more appropriately, be addressed in a review of the scheme so as to ensure a more equitable distribution of opportunities to earn performance pay amongst the various categories of Pilots. The scheme was introduced on foot of a report by the Pilots Pay Tribunal, and in the absence of agreement between the parties any revision of its terms should also be referred to this Tribunal. In that regard it is noted that the next pay tribunal is due to sit in June 2005.
So as to ameliorate the position of those associated with this claim, and as an interim measure pending the outcome of a review of the type envisaged above, the Court recommends that the following modifications be made in the current basic instructor allowance:
1. The basis allowance should be deemed to compensate for not more than 20 instruction ground duties per annum.
2. Therefore, the existing allowance should remain unchanged for the first 20 instruction ground duties per annum. Ground duties in excess of that number should attract an increased daily allowance of €160.
3. These adjustments should apply in respect of the current Performance Pay Year (Commencing November 2004).
The Court notes that Line Standards Captains are not encompassed by the Union's claim and are not covered by this Recommendation.
In the course of this investigation it was suggested that the difficulties with the scheme could be ameliorated by the introduction of the Preferential Bidding System of rostering. In the Court's view the parties should consider accelerating the introduction of this system.
This Recommendation is intended to provide an interim solution pending a review of the current system. It is also intended to be without prejudice to the position of either side in such a review.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
11th March, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.