INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Full implementation of the terms of the Sustaining Progress (SP) Agreement.
2. The Union's claim for payment in full of the terms of the SP Agreement was part of a claim submitted by An Post Group of Unions in July, 2005. The claim was discussed at the Labour Relations Commission and Assessors were appointed as provided for under SP. The Labour Court in recommendation .LCR 18261 linked the payment of increases due under the Sustaining Progress Agreement to all staff in the Company to the acceptance and ratification of LCR18260. This latter recommendation concerned a series of changes in the Collection and Delivery systems used an area represented by the CWU. LCR 18260 was rejected by the CWU. The PSEU has no members in this area and has no influence in terns of the conclusion of any agreement in the Collection and Delivery area. The Union is seeking payment of the terms of SP on the basis that it has met the implicit requirements of LCR18261. 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 26th October, 2005 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 28th October, 2005.
3. 1. The effect of LCR 18261 is to link payment of the increases due under SP to changes in work practices and arrangements designed to achieve savings for the Company. The Union has been in negotiations with the Company for some time on a range of change proposals. The Union has just forwarded to the Court a complaint under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 in respect of a small number of issues that could not be finalised in negotiations on a change package. In this referral the Union is accepting a range of changes that are the result of negotiations and is agreeing in advance to be bound by the Court's recommendation in accordance with Section 20(1) provisions.
2. The Union considers that it is meeting the implicit requirements of LCR18261 by accepting a range of changes and by accepting that, in relation to a small number of issues, the Court's recommendation under Section 20(1) will be binding on the Union.
4. 1. The Union has not taken a decision regarding LCR 18261. It is not acceptable to the Company that it should be required to pay the terms of the SP Agreement to Union members before the terms of LCR 18261 have been met in full.
2. The key question regarding the Company's ability to pay the terms of SP has already been the subject of an exhaustive examination by the two LRC appointed Assessors. This question has been clearly addressed in their Report dated 26th May, 2005. Following the Group of Unions rejection of the Assessors report The Labour Court heard and considered detailed submissions from all parties and issued LCR18261. The Company has accepted this recommendation. The matter is now finalised and there can be no further change to that position.
3. The Company understands the position which the Union finds itself in following the decision taken by CWU to reject LCR 18261. However, the essential but still outstanding matter of the key change programmes being finalised and implemented in order to part finance the payment of SP to staff has not been addressed.
In Recommendation LCR18261 the Court dealt with a group claim and issued a single adjudication addressed to the Unions collectively. One constituent Union rejected that Recommendation. It is contended by the Union associated with this claim that in consequence of that rejection it is powerless to meet the conditions precedent to the payment of the increases due under Sustaining Progress ("S.P.") identified by the Court in LCR 18261. The Union pointed out to the Court that it has concluded its negotiations with the Company on the change programme expected from its members and that outstanding issues have been referred to the Court under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act 1969 and that it has agreed to be bound by the Recommendation of the Court.
The Court accepts that in the circumstances now pertaining the Union's claim that it has fulfilled the requirements for the payment of S.P. increases, in so far as it is capable of so doing, has merit. The Court further accepts that when finality is reached in the negotiations on a change programme affecting members of PSEU the benefits which will accrue to the Company will be of sufficient significance to allow for payments under S.P. in respect of those associated with the present claim.
Accordingly, the Court recommends that the increases proposed in LCR 18261 be paid to members of PSEU on acceptance by both parties of the Recommendation of the Court in the impending Section 20(1) referral.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
1st November, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.