INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Claim for restoration of equity within Level F Grade.
2. Following the merger in 1998 between An Bord Trachtála (ABT) and Enterprise Ireland a succession of talks took place with a view to rationalising differences between salaries and non-pay items. This led to a Harmonisation Agreement in 1999 and a range of different pay scales, comprising solution scales and future scales were introduced. Under this Agreement ex- ABT Grade 8 staff retained their car allowance and mileage at a reduced rate, which were red-circled, while ex- IDA Grade 2 staff, who did not have a car allowance, were paid mileage at the normal rate. The Union were satisfied that this constituted a more or less level playing field between the two groups of staff.
In April 2004 Forfás concluded an agreement with the Union on behalf of the red-circled group of ex-ABT Grade 8 staff whereby the travel allowance was frozen at its current value and consolidated into salary for pension purposes with appropriate retrospection and payment of mileage at the normal rate thereafter. This claim had arisen prior to the merger of the agencies and was put on hold during the harmonisation process.
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union for the restoration of equity within the Level F Grade across the Forfás agencies by applying the value of the then car allowance and consolidating it into the pay scale of all non ex- ABT Grade 8 staff within Level F with equivalent retrospection.
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 12th August, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 13th October, 2005.
3. 1.The Employer in consolidating and making pensionable the car allowance to the ex- ABT 8 staff has undermined the Harmonisation Agreement as it applies to Level F's.
2. "Future scale" Level F' staff have an entitlement to secure the value of the car allowance which ex- ABT 8 staff enjoyed made pensionable to them as well.
3. Whilst the introduction of pensionability for the car allowance for ex ABT 8's created an anomaly it also involved no additional productivity nor any regard to performance or job function.
4. 1. The red-circled ex- ABT 8 staff who retained their car allowance were entitled to have their long standing claim, in relation to the value of the car allowance and the terms on which they were held, brought to conclusion.
2. Negotiations with the Union on bringing this long- standing claim to conclusion took place on the basis that the allowances were red-circled.
3. This is a cost-increasing claim and is therefore in breach of Sustaining Progress.
It is the view of the Court that this claim. as presented, is outside of the terms of the "no cost-increasing claims" clause of "Sustaining Progress" and is therefore debarred under the terms of that Agreement.
It is also the Court's view that the purpose of the original claim was to conclude unfinished business on behalf of a discrete group of red-circled personnel.
The Court does not recommend concession of the Union's claim
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th October, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.