INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL
- AND -
SIPTU & IMPACT
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Loss of time off for Religious Services.
2. The dispute relates to a claim by the Unions, on behalf of outdoor staff, concerning the loss of 30 minutes paid time off from work on each of the Holy Days annually. The Council claims that the practice ceased in 1997 and has not applied to indoor staff since that time. The Council wants to terminate the practice in respect of outdoor staff. The Unions claim that the practice should continue, or if not, they are seeking compensation for the loss. The Council rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A Conciliation Conference was held but agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 20th February, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act,1990. A Court hearing was held on the 7th June, 2006.
3. 1. The Claimants have been allowed the thirty minutes paid time off on the Holy Days to attend church services and this has been custom and practice for over twenty years. The practice still applies in different divisions of the outdoor services of the Council. The Council has now removed the privileged time off without discussion or agreement.
2. The Unions are seeking the reinstatement of the thirty minutes paid time off or appropriate compensation.
4. 1. The practice of allowing 30 minutes paid time off for church services ceased in 1997. Indoor staff have not had this facility since that time. Management accepts that the practice did continue as a local arrangement among some outdoor staff without being officially approved.
2. Compensation has not been paid in this situation where workers have lost or let the arrangement lapse over the years. Concession of compensation would be onerous from a financial viewpoint as any such payment would on the basis of equality have to include all 6,500 staff in the Council's employment.
The case before the Court concerns the Unions' claim for loss of half an hour paid leave on Holy Days for outdoor staff. The Unions maintained that there was a long-standing tradition within the City Council to allow paid time off to attend Mass on Holy Days, when they fell on normal working days. The City Council ceased this practice in 1997.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court is of the view that there is no merit in the Unions' claim and therefore rejects the claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
13th June, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.