INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal of a Rights Commissioner's Recommendation No. R-038506-Ir-05/JC.
2. The worker has been employed since 1980 as a TV Camera Operator and is currently graded as a senior/supervisory camera operator. Since 1997 he has been working in the electronic film production (EFP) area. The Union claims that this arrangement is part of an agreement that goes back to the 1980s/1990 which provided for two posts to be filled in the EFP by studio camera operators on a rotational basis.
As part of a settlement in 1992 a payment was made to EFP cameramen called "Lights Money". This was to compensate for agreeing to work without the presence of an electrician and to carry their own lights. In 1998/1999, the Union claims that the Company agreed to make a payment, equivalent to Lights Money, to camera operators assigned to the EFP. The Union's claim is that the Company has refused to make this payment to the worker concerned since 2003.
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner and her recommendation was as follows (it was agreed at the hearing that a second issue concerning "Merit Bar" was not before the Court).
"'Lights Money' " - I find against the Union's claim for the continued payment of an equivalent allowance in lieu of 'lights money' to the claimant during his attachment to the EFP area. I note that the respondent argued that they bought out that payment in 2003 and that the claimant received no further payment after that date. However, the respondent has no record of an exchanged correspondence or notes of a meeting covering the basis of the 2003 payment. In the circumstances and in full and final settlement of this particular claim I recommend that the respondent pay the claimant a final and once off payment of €750 as a buy out of the payment he received for some years following his attachment to the EFP area".
The worker appealed against the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation on the 10th of August, 2006, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 5th of December, 2006.
3. 1. Over the years the Company has paid allowances to TV camera studio operators working in EFP. In 2003, the worker received €1500, which included retrospection for two years, in relation to this allowance.
2. There has been no discussion nor agreement between the parties to alter these payments and the Company should honour the existing arrangements.
4. 1. Lights Money was an allowance paid from 1992-1996 when it was consolidated in the basic salary for EFP. Whilst working in EFP the worker receives two allowances valued at €6,348, a sum which members of EFP cameras do not receive. This means that, combined with his salary, the worker receives €2,176 more than the top of the salary scale for EFP cameraperson.
2. It would not be appropriate to pay an allowance which nolonger exists. The worker accepted the €750 recommended by the Rights Commissioner.
In the view of the Court, the Claimant is covered by a 1999 agreement which, as it has not been ended by mutual agreement, must remain in force until such time as the parties agree an alternative.
The Court, accordingly, overturns the Rights Commissioner's recommendation and allows the appeal.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th December, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.