INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LUFTHANSA TECHNIK AIRMOTIVE IRELAND LIMITED
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr Nash
2. The Company undertakes the repair and overhaul of CFM International and Pratt & Whitney jet aircraft engines and their accessories. It is based in Rathcoole, Co Dublin and employs 420 staff.
The claim before the Court concerns a claim by the Unions on behalf of 11 Non-Destructive testing (N.D.T.) Inspectors for regrading to Supervisory status. The Unions claim that the duties and responsibilities of these inspectors have altered significantly since the introduction of EU Regulation Number EN 4179:2000 which is the new standard for non-destructive testing throughout Europe. EN 4179:2000 requires NDT Inspectors to undergo tests/exams in up to 5 disciplines over a number of years.
EN 4179:2000 has further evolved, since 1st October 2006, into EN 4179:2005 without any changes to the daily work routines of the NDT staff.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission in September 2006. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 8th September, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 1st November, 2006.
3. 1. The Unions maintain that as a result of the new requirement there have been significant changes in work practices and a requirement to study for and sit exams. The Unions are seeking recognition from the Company for the additional responsibilities.
2. The Unions claim that following the replacement of a Level 3 Supervisor with an Administrative Supervisor in 2000 the NDT Inspectors have been burdened with sole and ultimate discretion in any inhouse NDT- related problematic or technical issue.
3. The Company made an offer at conciliation to resolve this claim. The offer had a low percentage increase and had no prospect of settling the claim.
4. 1. The introduction of EN 4179:2000 and the further evolvement into EN 4179:2005 does not in any way alter or increase the day to day duties of the claimants.
2. The only area where change has been proposed is the removal of the option in the recertification qualifications renewals process for annual practical and theoretical evaluations. It has been replaced by a requirement in EN 4179:2005 for all NDT staff to undergo a reapproval examination at intervals not exceeding 5 years.
3. The claim by the Unions for regrading to Supervisor status would in effect be a 35.4% salary increase. It would have major implications in all sections of the Company. Furthermore the claim is a cost-increasing claim within the ambit of Part 2 Section 1.4 of "Towards 2016"and is therefore precluded.
The claim before the Court relates to the Unions’ claim on behalf of eleven Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Inspectors for regrading to the Technical Supervisory Grade due to claimed additional duties and responsibilities arising from the implementation of new Statutory Regulations applying to the qualification and approval of NDT personnel in the aerospace industry.
These new Statutory Regulations follow the establishment of the EU European Aviation Safety Agency in September, 2003, and implemented the new EU-wide standard applicable to NDT personnel known as EN4179 2000 effective 1st January, 2004, and the revised EN4179 2005 effective 1st October, 2006. EN4179 2000 replaced Aeronautical Notice A.21 of the Irish Department of Transport which was the previous statutory regime applicable to NDT personnel.
The Unions claimed that the new standard under EN 4179:2005 requires NDT Inspectors to undergo recertification in their disciplines by way of formal assessment once every five years as continual proof of their proficiency and that this imposed additional duties and responsibilities upon them.
The background to this was that under the previous Aeronautical Notice A.21 NDT Inspectors were required to undergo recertification once every three years. Examination was by continual assessment conducted by an internal Approvals Board, taking guidance from an external Level 3. Under the previous EN 4179:2000 they had been required to undergo recertification on an annual basis either by examination or by continual assessment, at their own choice.
In response to the claim the Company denied that there had been any additional duties or responsibilities required of NDT Inspectors under EN 4179:2000 and 2005 and stated that the only change arising under the latter was the replacement of continual assessment with a compulsory requirement for a practical and theoretical evaluation at intervals not exceeding five years.
The Company made an offer at Conciliation to pay one additional increment to the NDT Inspectors in recognition of the more formal basis of assessment in respect of their new recertification obligations, which offer, was later withdrawn.
In support of their claims the Unions contended that prior to 2000 NDT Inspectors worked under Level 2 and Level 3 supervision but that since that time Level 3 has been replaced by an Administrative Supervisor. This claim was disputed by the Company which held that supervision since then was available from an external Level 3 and internal line management from the Administrative Supervisor and their Manager up to the Technical Director of the Company.
The Court has considered the submissions and views of the parties and has formed the view that NDT Inspectors, in carrying out their work at Level 2, perceive themselves as having a higher level of responsibility than that which is necessarily required.
Having examined all aspects of the case the Court is of the view that the level of changes envisaged does not justify the regrading claim brought by the Unions. However, in recognition of the new recertification requirements and the level of responsibility, the Court recommends that the NDT Inspectors should be paid two additional increments over and above their current point on the scale with effect from 1st October 2006.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
13th November, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.