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 as part of An Post Group of Unions brought its claim for the full payment of the terms of the Sustaining Progress Agreement ( SP ) to the Labour Court in July, 2005. This followed the report of the LRC appointed Assessors which recommended the payment of 5% from January, 2005 with the balance of SP to be dependent on the finalisation of the Company's restructuring requirements most significantly those related to Collection and Delivery. The Court in LCR 18261 adopted the report and recommended a structure for the payment of the balance of the SP Agreement linked to the acceptance by the CWU of a separate Labour Court Recommendation LCR18260 on Collection and Delivery. The CWU has since rejected this recommendation. The Union sought the payment in full of the terms of SP on the basis that it has concluded its Grade and Pay restructuring agreement with the Company. 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 25 the 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. In July, 2003 the Union with the assistance of the LRC concluded a substantial Pay and Grading agreement which over the intervening two years has delivered significant savings to the Company.
2. Business performance in the Financial Services area and Bill payments in which the majority of Union members work has been significantly above budgeted forecasts in recent years.
3. This deal was concluded prior to SP coming into force. The last phase of the PPF was withheld from the claimants pending the conclusion of the Pay and Grading agreement unlike other groups who were paid on time. The subsequent withholding of a follow-on National Agreement (SP) where the required change had been agreed and delivered is unjustifiable.
4. There is an underlying logic in the Court's findings on the payments of SP in LCR 18261 which implies that sectoral interests within the Group of Unions should be paid SP where restructuring has been completed and profitability secured. This has been achieved in the case of grades represented by the Union.
4. 1. The issue of the Company's ability to finance the pay terms of SP has already been thoroughly examined by the LRC appointed Assessors and by the Labour Court. The Court's recommendation LCR 18261 has been accepted by the Company. The Company does not have the ability to make any further payments under SP without the savings arising form the implementation of all the change programmes in order to fund the enormous additional costs arising from the SP Agreement.
2. The Company is not unsympathetic to the position of the Union. However, the Company does not accept, that SP should be paid to the claimants in full and as it falls due, because they have concluded an agreement and are implementing a change and restructuring agreement. The Union has not taken a decision regarding LCR 18261. The 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. The Company cannot accept any change to the Labour Court's recommendation as set out in LCR 18261.
In Recommendation LCR 18261 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 contends that since it has delivered that degree of change sought from its members they should be paid the increases due in full and on time.
The Court accepts that in the circumstances now pertaining the Union's claim that it has fulfilled the requirements for payment of the S.P. increases, in so far as it is capable of so doing, has merit. The Court further accepts that the benefits which will accrue from the changes in work practice agreed by the Union are of sufficient significance to allow the Company to met the pay terms of Sustaining Progress in respect of those associated with the present claim.
In these circumstances the Court is of the view that it would be unreasonable for the Company to withhold the increases at issue from the members of CPSU. Accordingly the Court recommends that the increases be paid to those associated with this claim on the basis set out by the Court in LCR 18261, which was as follows:
The phasing of increases under Sustaining Progress, if fully implemented, would be as follows;
1st Part Sustaining Progress.
3% with effect from 1st November, 2003.
2% with effect from 1st August, 2004
2% with effect from 1st February, 2005.
2nd Part Sustaining Progress.
1.5% with effect from 1st May, 2005
1.5% with effect from 1st November, 2005
2.5% with effect from 1st May, 2006.
The 5% increase already implemented should be regarded as including the 3% due on 1st November, 2003 and the 2% due on 1st August, 2004, under the 1st part of Sustaining Progress.
The 2% increase due on 1st February, 2005, under the 1st part of Sustaining Progress and the 1.5% increase due on 1st May, 2005 under the second part of Sustaining Progress should be paid with effect from the due dates.
Further increases should be paid as they become due.
The Court further recommends that retrospection of the increases recommended above to the dates on which they would otherwise been due should be regarded as a liability due to employees. the amount due should be discharged when the company is returned to reasonable and sustainable profit and its financial and commercial circumstances permit.
The payment of the amounts due should be jointly considered by the parties at the end of the next financial reporting period (and at the end of each reporting period thereafter as necessary) having regard to the financial circumstances of the Company. Payment of the retrospection can, if necessary, include appropriate phasing. In considering the payment of retrospection the parties should consider giving priority to the amounts due on pensions.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
1st November, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.