INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
MAYO COUNTY COUNCIL
(REPRESENTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES BOARD)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Shift Premium; Transfer into comparable Clerical Officer grades
2. CAMP (Computer Aided Mobilisation Project) West is a communications infrastructure consisting of a regional call centre based in Castlebar, Co. Mayo and 22 hill top sites located throughout the counties of the Western Region. The project is a consortium consisting of local authorities and the Health Services Executive Western Region. Mayo County Council was appointed as the contracting authority on behalf of the partners. Its purpose is to mobilise fire and ambulance services on a regional basis. There are two other CAMP regions in the Country, CAMP Munster based in Limerick and staffed by control room operators, and CAMP East based in Dublin and staffed by full time firefighters.
- The dispute before the Court concerns two claims by the Union on behalf of its members employed as Emergency Control Operators (ECOs) and Senior Emergency Control Operators (SECOs). The first being the application of the shift premium rates that are paid to control room operators employed at CAMP Munster. The current shift premium at CAMP West is 20% with an additional premium on Sundays and Public Holidays of 50% (50% + 20%). The premium applying in CAMP Munster is 33.3% with an additional 8 hours paid on Sundays and Public Holidays. The Union is seeking that any increases in rates be applied retrospectively to September 2004. The Union is also seeking that staff employed as operators be allowed to transfer into any vacant Clerical Officer grade 3 posts within the County Council.
Management rejects the claim for payment of the one third premium shift which is paid to staff employed in CAMP Munster as this shift premium was originally introduced in 1991 to include all allowances, including payment for Public Holidays. It is out of line with industry norm but it would not be possible to reduce the 33% shift premium allowance because of the length of time which the staff had enjoyed it. It is re-circled to staff in CAMP Munster. Management also rejects the claim for transferability between the named grades.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 2nd March 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 20th September, 2005, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The fact that basic pay rates, skills and education requirements and duties of the ECOs and SECOs in both CAMP West and Munster are similar, the application of a common shift premium system covering a similar 24 hour, 7 day week service would appear to be a logical extension of these consistencies. Acknowledging that the essential emergency service that both centres provide to the public in general will be of equal value, it is therefore necessary to ensure that the service providers, the ECOs and SECOs are paid equally.
2. ECOs and SECOs are, for pay purposes, compared with Clerical Officer grade 3 and Assistant Staff grade respectively. In the event of posts becoming available in the comparable grades consideration should be given to the members for transfer into these vacancies. This would have the effect of time served as ECOs and SECOs being equal in value to workers with similar time served in the aforementioned grades.
4. 1. Management is satisfied that the one fifth shift premium is the norm for this type of shift pattern in the public sector. Firefighters and Ambulance controllers in CAMP East and the HSE Western Region are paid similar premiums. Concession of this claim could lead to similar claims from both ambulance and fire personnel. The shift system in CAMP Munster is different from CAMP West in that they work a greater number of weekends and nights in a 12 month period. The claim is cost increasing and is precluded under the terms of Sustaining Progress.
2. The only linkage that the call centre operator grade has with that of the Clerical Officer is that the rate of pay of the control grade is a proportion of the Clerical Officer grade for the purpose of pay determination. Such pay linkages are the norm within the public sector and ensure that increases such as provided under benchmarking are applied, however, they confer no other rights and do not provide for an automatic right to transfer to the position agreed. Whilst Management remains committed to staff development, such transferability as sought in the claim is not available under current national arrangements.
Claim (I) Shift Premium
The Court cannot recommend concession of this claim as, in the view of the Court, it is cost-increasing and is therefore in breach of the terms of clause 1.5 of the pay provisions of "Sustaining Progress".
Claim (II) Transfer to comparable grades
The Court does not recommend concession of this claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th October 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.