INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
CAVAN CO COUNCIL
(REPRESENTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES BOARD)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioners Recommendation R-034813-IR-05-DI.
2. The dispute involves a claim by the Worker who is seeking to have the Driver Grade B special rate applied to him on a continuous basis for driving and operating a tar sprayer machine. This rate of pay is paid to drivers who operate specialised machinery. The Worker is required to operate a tar spraying machine for approximately eight to nine months of the year. While operating this specific machine the Worker receives an allowance. When not operating the machine he reverts to his substantive grade of Driver Grade B and is remunerated accordingly. Management maintains the Worker is paid in accordance with the 1993 Agreement reached between the Union and the Local Government Management Services Board.
- The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On the 23rd January, 2006, the Rights Commissioner issued his recommendation as follows:
“The claimant was paid an allowance for acting up in accordance with the 1993 reached between the union and the Local Government Management Service Board. As the arrangements that applied to the claimant are in accordance with this agreement, I find no justification why he should be paid the rate of pay of a Tar Patcher Driver/Operator on a continuous basis. I therefore find against the claimants complaint”.
On the 24th February, 2006, the Union appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th July, 2006.
3.1 The Union is seeking that in view of his special circumstances the worker's rate of pay inclusive of the special allowance should be paid on a continuous basis.
2. The worker claims that he now undertakes driving and operating the tar sprayer machine duties throughout an eleven month (February to December) period as a result of the Council's increasing road construction and road maintenance programme.
3. Only one tar sprayer (the Claimant) operates for this duration, a second machine would on occasions be utilised during the periods of June and July.
4. The worker claims that operating the tar sprayer is now a specialised skill, the operator is responsible for accurately adhering to the road surfacing requirements which in turn are checked by computer printout.
5. The Union contends that a precedent was established in Cavan County Council where a driver/operator of a Ditchmaster machine had and continues to have applied to him on a continuous basis the tar patcher machine driver/operator rate of pay.
6. The worker's specialised skill in driving and operating the tar sprayer machine for the County Council's road maintenance section is on-going throughout the year. The responsibilities undertaken by the worker and his current pay arrangements do not afford him the same benefits regarding overtime payments and pension benefits as his tar patcher driver/operator colleagues.
4.1 The worker is a general operative on the Driver Grade B scale, the duties and functions of his substantive post are proper to this grade. When he operates the machine in question he gets an additional allowance; his colleagues who also operate the machine are also on the Driver Grade B scale and are also in receipt of the allowance for the times they operate the tar sprayer.
2. Arrangements for paying higher duty allowances for various activities are normal practice within the local authority sector. These arrangements are consistent with the 1993 agreement between the Unions and the LGMSB. The worker is seeking to have his post re-graded on the basis of the operation of the tar sprayer and concession of this claim would have serious repercussions for the Council.
3. The Council contends that the worker is appropriately graded. The claim put forward by the Union is without foundation and precluded under the terms of Sustaining Progress; it is neither justified nor sustainable.
The case before the Court is an appeal by the worker against a Rights Commissioner's Recommendation, which dealt with his claim for the application on a continuous basis of a special allowance which he receives for periods when he is driving and operating a tar sprayer. The Rights Commissioner did not find in favour of his claim on the basis that he was paid in accordance with the 1993 Agreement reached between the Union and the Local Government Management Services Board and held that the arrangements which applied to him were in accordance with that Agreement and accordingly found no justification for the claim.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court concurs with the findings and Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner and dismisses the appeal.
Therefore, the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation should be upheld.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd August, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.