INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CURRAGH RACE COURSE LTD
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Analogue pay link.
2. The Curragh Race Course was established in 1790 and it operates as a commercial body operating and running race meetings as well as a training facility. The claim before the Court is on behalf of 19 manual employees working on the race track and training grounds.
Since 1983 pay parity has existed between the Union's members at the Race Course and general operatives employed by the Local Authorities. The Union maintain that the parity extends to conditions of employment .
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union, on behalf of its members, for significant pay increases arising from the introduction of Benchmarking to the pay scales for Kildare County Council workers following a rejection of proposals for a new pay structure brokered under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. The Company rejected the claim on the basis that it was never the intention that the pay scales would be aligned in all circumstances.
The dispute was the subject of several conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. These took place between October, 2004 and 30th March, 2006. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 26th May, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 18th July, 2006.
3. 1.The pay determination procedure at the Race Course has been established for well over 20 years. The Company have always complied with the terms of previous National Wage Agreements as they pertained to Local Authority workers.
2.The Race Course even when trading in deficit complied with the terms of the agreement, now when it is profitable there is no excuse not to comply with the terms.
3. Comparisons with Navan and Leopardstown racecourses are not sustainable as parity with the local authorities had never been conceded by Management at these racecourses.
4. 1.The claim for Benchmarking is outside the terms of Sustaining Progress as this applied to Public Bodies and the Public Sector and not the private sector.
2. The cost of maintaining an alignment with Kildare County Councilpay scales is not sustainable into the future.
3. The fact that an alignment has existed in the past should not preclude the Companyseeking to end such an 'alignment' which is outdated and not a suitable comparator.
4. The Company have given a commitment to pay National Wage Agreements into the future and to review rates of pay when necessary.
The issue before the Court concerns the Union’s claim to retain the established pay alignment of general operatives employed by the Race Course with Local Authority general operative rates. The Union submit that a long established linkage with Local Authority rates has existed and sees no reason why it should not continue. The dispute arose when management informed the Union that it was not prepared to pay increases awarded under Benchmarking, and thereby discontinue the linkage established in 1983.
Negotiations took place under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on proposals to break the linkage. The Court notes that these proposals sought concession on the introduction of a new pay scale and amendments to existing work practices and conditions of employment. The Union rejected these proposals.
Having considered the positions of both sides the Court accepts management’s arguments that linkages with the public sector are no longer appropriate.
Accordingly, to resolve the dispute between the parties, the Court recommends:
-Parallel Benchmarking increases should be paid, with appropriate retrospection to the relevant dates, on a phased basis,-Further discussions should commence on (a) the introduction of a new pay scale ` comparable to similar type establishments in the private sector, and (b) amendment of existing work practices and conditions of employment and which are not linked to the public sector going forward; these discussions should be mindful of changes which were originally sought by the Company,
-These discussions to be completed before the end of November 2006.
-In the event that agreement is not reached between the parties, the issues may be referred back to the Court.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th July, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.