INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
IRISH FERRIES LIMITED
- AND -
SEAMEN'S UNION OF IRELAND
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Certain terms of employment for staff transferred from the M.V. Normandy to Irish Sea routes.
2. The Company recently outsourced the work of various grades of Ratings on the M.V. Normandy (LCR18116 refers) and a significantly majority of them accepted the Voluntary Redundancy Package. The twenty three claimants, former crew members of the M.V. Normandy, opted to transfer to the Company's Irish Sea services. In order to create positions for those Ratings the Company offered Voluntary Redundancy to ratings on Irish Sea routes. The dispute concerns certain of the terms of transfer of the former M.V. Normandy Ratings to the Irish Sea routes. The issues in dispute specifically are, as follows:
1. Jobbing of Ratings at their own grade/level.
2. Seniority of Temporary Ratings.
3. Company proposals to buy out certain benefits.
The Union claims that Ratings who transferred to Irish Sea routes should be jobbed at whatever position they held on the M.V. Normandy. The Company maintains that the only undertaking it had given was to redeploy workers with no loss of pay and reserved the right to redeploy workers efficiently. 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 12th August, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 14th October, 2005.
3. 1. In discussions the Company indicated that every Normandy crew member wishing to stay and transfer to the Irish Sea routes would be "red circled", so that if an A.B, Steward, Repairman, etc., was transferring then their opposite number on the Irish Sea would be offered redundancy to leave and make way for the transferees. The Company also stated that, in the event that it did not get enough workers in a particular area to agree to go, it would carry surplus workers in that area. The Company had redeployed Ships' Officers at the proper level but not the Ratings. Following the redundancy and the transfer of the twenty three claimants, certain of those workers found that the Company had reneged on promises given. There is a number of examples where workers, upon transfer, were offered lesser posts e.g. a former Senior Repairman (Senior Petty Officer) on the M.V. Normandy was offered retraining on the lesser post of Motorman. He had offered to retrain as Master at-Arms but the Company rejected his request. This worker should be given the job he justly deserves, be compensated for his treatment or be offered a just redundancy package that is acceptable to him. Other workers, e.g. Cooks, Chefs, etc., were allocated to cleaning duties significantly below their comparable duties on the M.V.Normandy. They should also receive compensation for their treatment by the Company.
2. Two temporary workers with more than five years' service at the time were placed by the Company on the top of the temporary list for work. Later they discovered that their names had been removed and placed at the bottom of the list when permanent jobs were being filled while workers with little service were offered permanent posts. The two temporary workers should be given the permanency they deserve based on their now six years of service.
3. The transferred workers all have different conditions of employment to their counterparts on the Irish Sea in relation to Leave and Dry Dock Agreement. The Claimants should be allowed to retain their conditions of employment which they currently hold and be "red circled" on these conditions.
4. 1. The Company did guarantee that there would be no loss of earnings. It did not guarantee an equivalent grade of work on the Irish Sea although it did try to job workers at their own level. The Company also agreed that even if a surplus of workers arose they would be accommodated with work. However, the Company reserved the right to use them productively in all cases. There was no prior or any guarantee to a function or grade similar or equivalent to that previously held on the M.V.Normandy.
2. With reference to seniority, by agreement appointment of Ratings to permanent from temporary status (within Deck, Engine and Catering Departments) is based on satisfactory service and seniority as temporary staff. Also, by custom and practice, seniority lists were (a) maintained separately for the Irish Sea route, and (b)M.V. Normandy, with rare cases of transferees finding themselves at the bottom of the relevant seniority list of the routes to which they transferred . The Company cannot agree to workers' retention of their M.V. Normandy position and for their overall Company service point in respect of their seniority on the Irish Sea temporary staff list and permanent staff list, respectively. If that were agreed by the Company then it would have allowed one Repairman, based upon overall Company service, to claim precedence for such a job on the Irish Sea, plus a number of Deck Hands and Catering Crew likewise on both the temporary and permanent Irish Sea lists. This would result in counter claims from Ratings on Irish Sea on the basis of displacement of seniority. The Company cannot do that unilaterally and when the Unions were requested to consult their own members regarding the possibility of changing the position they declined to do so.
3. In relation to Ratio/Leave, Sick Leave and the Dry Dock Agreement the Company wishes to harmonise these issues with the Irish Sea for ease of administration, scheduling of rosters and cost. It has offered to buy-out disparities using the formula agreed under Benchmarking viz. losses per annum x 2, losses per annum x by 3 for Ratio/Leave change.
Having considered the submissions of the parties, the Court recommends as follows:
Jobbing of Ratings at their own grade/level:- The Court regards the Company's proposals as enacted as being reasonable in all the circumstances.
Seniority of Temporary Ratings:- The Court regards the Company's actions as being in accordance with accepted custom and practice.
Company proposals to buy-out certain terms/conditions:- The Court upholds the position of the Union that it is unwilling to concede a buy-out of the terms and conditions previously put forward by the Company for such a buy-out.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st October, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.