INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
CLERICAL WORKERS UNION (CWU)
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Clerical grading and pay agreement.
2. In July 2000 the Union and An Post concluded the Transformation through Partnership in An Post Agreement. A key element of the Agreement was the development of new remuneration and reward systems which would deal fully and fairly with the pay issue for clerical workers while at the same time replacing the dependency on overtime with new systems which support stable remuneration levels.
The Review of Clerical Grading Structures and Reward systems encompassed all members of the CWU clerical stream across Post offices, SDS, Letterpost and Group.
Discussions took place over a period of some 2-3 years, both locally and at Conciliation in the Labour Relations Commission. Following these discussions, final proposals were exchanged between the parties in February 2006. Following this process, the following issues were disagreed between the parties.
- Payment of change allowance of 12.5% (83.67% pensionable) retrospective to 01/06/2002;
- Variable contracts;
- Grade restructuring;
- New entry level;
- Terms and Conditions (including Holiday Pay, Grievance and Dispute Procedures, Duty Competitions/ Seniority, Annual Leave/Holidays, Acting/Promotions, 35 hour basic working week);
- Area versus Regional Office
- Work and Life Balance
- Staffing Levels
- Surplus Staff
- Voluntary Severance/Early Retirement
- Project Executives
As agreement could not be reached at Conciliation, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 27th April 2006 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 19th May, 2006.
3.1 The Union has made every conceivable effort to bring to finality the Clerical Pay Discussions for their members in Letterpost/Group.
2. Management has frustrated and delayed the discussions. The Company has squandered the opportunity to secure up front verifiable savings in the order of 25%.
3. The Company refused to progress the Clerical discussions in order that they could attempt to secure additional changes as in the Collection and Delivery area. This is not justified in that the Collection and Delivery Project is a stand alone Agreement comprehending 5,500 postal workers in the Collection and Delivery area. In contract the Clerical Pay discussions for staff in Letterpost/Group is the finalisation discussions for the Clerical Stream across An Post which was completed in 2002 and in Post Offices and SDS in 2003.
4. The Union requests that the discrimination imposed by An Post management on its staff in Letter Post and Group be brought to an end.
4.1 The nature of the changes proposed by An Post are consistent with the flexibility approach already achieved in agreements for grades represented by other Unions within the Company, including CWU for other employee categories.
2. The savings generated by the proposals will directly fund a productivity allowance. However, it is not the Company's intention to disburse any payment unless the formally agreed changes have been verifiably implemented. Ongoing payment is for ongoing implementation and co-operation with change.
3. Avoidable deferrals, interruptions and abandonment of the process of securing an agreement have affected the time-line of the planned restructuring of the National Area Office
4. It is essential that the proposed agreement for Clerical staff is consistent with these agreements as agreed subsequent to the requirements of the September, 2003 Strategic Recovery Plan.
The Court has considered the detailed submissions made to it by the parties.
It is the view of the Court that the issues raised by the parties need to be further discussed and refined in the context of existing precedents and agreements.
The Court accordingly recommends that the issues placed before it by the parties be sent to the existing Tripartite Expert Group for consideration, discussion and, if possible, agreement.
Matters not agreed between the parties by 30th September, 2006 can be referred back to the Court for final recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
6th July, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.