INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Post Testing Agreement.
2. The town of Drogheda has expanded greatly in recent years and this has resulted in an increased demand for postal services in the area. In October, 2004, staff moved into a new Delivery Services Unit in the town. The new office was equipped with the RM 2000 (Vertical Sorting Frames) delivery benches which result in significant efficiencies.
In October, 1998, the Union and the Company concluded a National Agreement on Post Testing which governs the manner in which postal revisions are conducted and also how delivery duties are constructed. In October, 2004, prior to the occupation of the new premises, the Company committed to undertake a review of delivery routes (Post Tests) operating out of the office as it was accepted that a significant number of routes were overscheduled. The Union disputed the results on the basis that the Company had used work standards associated with the use of vertical slot sorting frames for which there was no agreement between the Company and the Union.
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 17th 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 Company is in breach of the existing 1998 Post Testing Agreement.
2. The standards which apply in the existing Post Testing Agreement are part of an integrated agreement for delivery duties.
3. The Company attempted arbitrarily to change the existing standards while discussions were taking place at the LRC and while the Technical Group appointed by the Labour Court was considering the Company's integrated proposals on Standards and Savings.
4. 1. The RM 2000 vertical slot sorting frames in use in Drogheda are more efficient than the old system and significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to sort and prepare mail prior to delivery.
2. In assessing the extent of over or underscheduling on a delivery route it is entirely appropriate for the Company to base its assessment on the work standards applicable to the equipment and method of work in use.
3. The actual work standards used by the Company have not been disputed by the Union but rather they have disputed their application in this instance.
Having considered the submissions made to it by the parties, the Court is of the view that the 1998 Post Testing Agreement is the Agreement which remains in force (as per the LRC proposals of 31 March, 2004). The Court also notes the extra efficiencies possible through the use of the RM 2000 equipment. This has been examined by the Technical Group established by the Court.
The Court would commend the parties towards further discussions, guided by the report of the Technical Group, with a view to reaching final agreement.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th October, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.