INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
WATERFORD CITY COUNCIL
(REPRESENTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES BOARD)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Increase in Drainage Allowance, Increase in Scaffolding Allowance, Chainsaw Allowance for Operatives, Water Inspectors' Rate, Average Rostered Overtime to be paid on Holiday Pay.
2. The issues in dispute, which concern a number of General Operatives grades are as follows;
1.Increase in Drainage Allowance
2. Increase in Scaffolding Allowance,
3. Chainsaw Allowance for Operatives
4. Water Inspectors' Allowance
5. Average Rostered Overtime to be paid on Holiday Pay.
1.Drainage Allowance. This allowance was introduced by the Council on the 21st May, 2001 and backdated to 1st August, 1999. The allowance was set at €35.90 per week. In 2002 the allowance was €48, its current level. The Union is seeking an increase in the allowance to €75.
2.Scaffolding Allowance.The Union, on behalf of two scaffolders, is seeking an increase in the allowance from €10 per day to €12.50 per day.
3.Chainsaw Allowance.The Union is seeking an allowance of €23 on behalf of Chainsaw Operatives who deal with the felling and trimming of trees.
4.Water Inspector's Allowance.The Union is seeking Grade 5 of the Water Caretakers Rate on behalf of two Water Inspectors.
5.Average Rostered Overtime. The Union is seeking the application of average rostered overtime to be paid on holiday pay.
Management rejected the claims. 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 18th May, 2006 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 22nd May, 2006.
3. 1.Claim 1 Drainage Allowance. This allowance was given as part of a National Agreement. The Council increased the allowance once and then decided to withhold any further increases. All other Local Authorities have increased the allowance. The Union is seeking an increase in the allowance to €75 per week.
2.Scaffolding Allowance. Scaffolding within the Construction Industry is recognised as a Grade and carries two Rates, basic rate and advanced rate. Any worker employed within Local Authorities will never receive these rates and will only receive an allowance. This allowance should be increased along with the National Agreement in order to keep its value.
3.Chainsaw Allowance.Workers have to be trained in this onerous task and receive FAS accreditation. Other Local Authorities have recognised this and paid an allowance to workers who must use chainsaws. The Union is seeking an allowance of €23 per week.
4.Water Inspectors.The Council was the first to introduce the water leakage inspectors and awarded them Driver B Rate at the time. Other Local Authorities have now introduced the same system and have awarded the position either Foreman Rate or Grade 5 Water Caretakers Rate in recognition of the position. The claimants should not be penalised and should be awarded Grade 5 of the Water Caretakers Rate.
5Average Overtime in Holiday Pay.Management conceded this claim at discussions under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission in June, 2005 and the Union provided Management with a list of relevant workers. The Union is now seeking that average rostered overtime be paid on holiday pay.
4. 1.Claim 1 Drainage Allowance.This allowance does not exist in the majority of Local Authorities. The introduction of the new General Operatives grades structure in 1981 specifically excluded all allowances with the exception of dirty money. Following the national agreement on Parallel Benchmarking in 2004 the Council undertook to examine all allowances. Agreement was reached that no new allowances would be paid and that existing allowances would be held on a "red circled" basis. The Parallel Benchmarking agreement together with the SP agreement provided for payment of increases totalling 24.08% in respect of agreed local modernisation change agenda.
2.Claim 2 Scaffolding Allowance.This allowance was the subject of a Rights Commissioner's recommendation in 2003. The existing allowance was €3.17 per day and the Rights Commissioner recommended that it be increased to €10.00. The Council implemented the recommendation. Management does not accept that it is appropriate for the Union to seek to increase the allowance further, given that it was so recently adjudicated upon.
3.Claim 3 Chainsaw Allowance. With regard to the use of chainsaws General Operatives are paid an acting up allowance as per the national agreement i.e. if workers are required to utilise equipment such as a chainsaw they are paid at the light equipment operator rate of pay. Any change in this allowance will have national implications for the light equipment operator rate of pay.
4.Claim 4 Water Inspectors.This claim falls to be dealt with in the context of the Parallel Benchmarking exercise, the next round of which is about to commence. Concession of this claim would have serious repercussive effects for all grades within the Local Authority sector as it would set a precedent for other grades who may also wish to have their jobs regraded.
5.Claim 5 Average Overtime in Holiday Pay.Overtime is specifically excluded from Holiday Pay as defined in the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 and S.I. No 475 of 1997. Therefore, the inclusion of overtime in the calculation of Holiday Pay is statute barred. The claimants are required to work overtime on and as and when required basis and it is part and parcel of their conditions of employment. Concession of this claim would effectively mean that all public sector employers would be obliged to include overtime in Holiday Pay. Management does not accept that any commitment was given to the Union on this issue at the LRC meeting in 2005.
In the light of the submissions presented and noting the existence of the relevant national and local agreements, the Court recommends as follows in the unique circumstances obtaining:
Drainage Allowance: This allowance should be increased to the level paid in Limerick (currently €53 p.w. and held and red circled at that level.
Scaffolding Allowance: On the basis that this allowance was increased on foot of a Rights Commissioner's Recommendation as recently as 2003, the Court does not recommend any increase in the allowance from the present level of €10 per day.
Chainsaw Allowance: The Court considers that the light equipment operator rate is the correct one and does not recommend concession of this claim.
Water Inspectors: The question of regrading of water inspectors is one which properly falls to be dealt with under Benchmarking/ Parallel Benchmarking.
Accordingly the Court recommends that this matter be dealt with in that way.
Inclusion of Overtime in Holiday Pay: On the basis of events in 2005 and consistency, the Court recommends that the average of any regular rostered overtime should apply to the claimants, for the purpose of calculating holiday pay.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
29th May, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.