INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Bonus/Tool Allowance.
2. The Union's claim is for a "Bonus/Tool Allowance" paid to Craftman's Mates (approximately €900 p.a.) for 7 General Operatives (GO’s) in the College. The Union maintains that 85% plus, of an operative’s job is attending to the craftworkers and on that basis GO’s should receive the allowance. The Union claims that this allowance has been conceded in other public sector employments i.e. OPW and the Department of Defence. The GO’s job description in UCC is the same as that of Craftman's Mate.
The College position is that it has no discretion to operate outside the Craft Analogue Agreement and the Parallel Benchmarking Agreement. These agreements provide for a Bonus Tool Allowance to the Craftman’s Mate. However, the workers in question are GO’s and accordingly the allowance cannot apply to them.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 13th July, 2005 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 1st March, 2006.
3.1 The Craftman's Mate Bonus/Tool Allowance has been paid in all other constituents covered by the Craft Analogue Agreement, ie. Local Authorities, Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Department of Defence, OPW, and the Health Executive Authority.
2. The Union argues that the Health Executive Authority is an interesting position as like UCC, Craftman's Mates are classified as General Operatives. However, while the classification of General Operatives has not changed, specific names were specified and recategorised for this payment on the grounds of parity with Craftman's Mates as they were identified as working more than 80% with Craftmen deemed to be dedicated as Craftman's mates for the purpose of payment under this agreement.
3. The Claimants concerned spend more than 80% of their working day attending to Craftmen and should be entitled to this bonus payment on a yearly basis.
4.1 The University must abide by the terms of the National Public Service Pay Agreements affecting its staff and has no authority to depart from same.
2. The pay of General Operatives in UCC has historically been linked to National Pay Agreements covering G.O's outside of Dublin, the most recent of which is the Parallel Benchmarking General Operative Agreements. This Agreement specifically precludes payment of the 'bonus/tool allowance' to G.O's.
3. The bonus/tool allowance only applies to craft grades including Craftworkers mates who are comprehended by the Craftworkers Parallel Benchmarking Agreement. All craftworkers in UCC are being paid the bonus/tool allowance in accordance with theCraftworkers Parallel Benchmarking Agreement.
4. This claim is precluded by Section 19.6 of Sustaining Progress which precluded cost of increasing claims.
5. This claim could have been pursued at national level within the Local Authority and Health Sector from where the G.O.'s Agreement originated. The University understands that no such claim is or has been pursued.
6. Any concession of this claim would lead to knock-on claims from other G.O.'s and related grades in other Universities and throughout the Public Sector.
The Union sought the application of a Craftworker’s Mate Bonus/Tool Allowance to general operatives employed by the College. This allowance was agreed under the Craftworker’s Analogue Agreement and is paid to grades covered within the agreement, on a phased basis in line with Benchmarking awards.
The Union contended that the general operatives are entitled to the allowance, as they are dedicated craftworker’s mates working alongside and tending to craftworkers on a day-to-day basis. It maintains that 85% of the operative’s duties are dedicated to attending to the craftworker and that the operatives job description is the same as the craftworker’s mate. It held that all other constituents covered by the Agreement pay the allowance and it had been conceded in other public sector employments.
Management held the position that it had no discretion to operate outside the Craft Analogue Agreement which stated that the allowance was payable only to the grades covered within the craft grades i.e. Craftworker, Craftworkers Mate, Ganger, Assistant Foreman, and Foremen. It also stated that it was not payable to any other grades even those who are analogous to craft grades for pay relationship purposes. Furthermore, under the “Main Trades Make Good” Agreement, general operatives and related grades are required to cooperate with the continued devolution of non-core craftwork.
The Court has considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions. Clearly, in UCC the claimants’ work is closely aligned to craftwork, but they have not been classified as craftworker’s mates. The Court is of the view that this is an issue, which may have consequential implications across the board and therefore, should be examined at national level. Accordingly, the Court recommends that the appropriate forum to consider the claim is at the forthcoming review of Benchmarking.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.