INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
AMICUS / MSF
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Improved Subsistence
2. The claim covers 13 Transmission Technicians employed by the Company to work on the Transmission Field Pipeline. Five of the Technicians are based in Cork and eight in Dublin. The workers are seeking to have the current lunch allowance replaced with a standard 5 and 10 hours subsistence allowance. The subsistence allowance is covered by the Department of Finance Circular 11/82. The Unions claim that the current lunch allowance is €5.02 per day and that it has not increased since 1992. The Company offered to increase the lunch allowance but claimed that the increase would be taxed by Revenue and would offer no actual pay increase to the workers.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place. As the parties did not reach an agreement the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 12th of May, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 14th of June, 2006.
3. 1. The existing lunch allowance is no longer appropriate for compensating the Technicians as on many occasions they have to travel considerable distances from base during working hours.
2. Payments made under the standard Company subsistence scheme are accepted by Revenue as being tax free. The Unions believe that as most other employees in the Company receive subsistence allowances as per Section 11/82 it would be fair that Technicians also received them.
4.1. The Company believes that its current site allowances are not out of line with payments in other State Companies such as E.S.B., O.P.W. etc.
2. The claim for the applicationof the 5/10 hours subsistence allowance under Circular 11/82 is not allowable as per Department of Finance guidelines.
3. The Technicians have a number of site allowances which are "red circled".
The dispute before the Court concerns the Unions' claim for an improvement in meal allowances paid to Transmission Technicians. The Unions sought application of the Departments of Finance Circular 11/82 which covers the Department's regulations on subsistence allowance. The origins of the claim arose when the Company offered to increase the current eating-on-site allowances, however, this did not take place as it raised Revenue implications.
Having considered the submissions of both parties, and having examined Circular 11/82, the Court is not satisfied that application of Circular 11/82 would be appropriate in the circumstances and, accordingly, the Unions' claim before the Court fails.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th June, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.