INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
NATIONAL BUS AND RAIL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Proposed Productivity Agreement for Engineering Operatives.
2. The dispute which concerns the proposed Productivity Agreement relating to Engineering Operatives (EO's) was the subject of a Labour Court hearing in October, 2005 (LCR 18352 refers). The Recommendation provided for the referral back to the Court of any outstanding issues that could not be resolved. Following the issue of LCR18352 the parties engaged in discussions on the proposed Productivity Agreement at local level and at conciliation conferences held under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, the final conciliation conference was held in February, 2006. Agreement was not reached and the following issues remain unresolved:-
Lead in Payment
Broadstone-Central Stores Voluntary Redundancy Formula
Broadstone -Garage Rosters
Stores Controller Positions
Loss of Earnings
The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 14th June, 2006 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 13th September, 2006.
3. 1.Pay Increase. While Management has agreed to apply the same payment as per the Crafts Agreement of 2002, and within the same context of scale revision to a new six point scale, the Company is refusing to do so from the same date of March, 2002. The Union is seeking the retention of the pre-existing differential of 19% between the Craft workers and EO grades. Any adjustments made on foot of the proposed EO Productivity Agreement - the pre- existing differential be maintained and it be implemented from the same date i.e March, 2002.
2.Lead in Payment. Management is offering a Lead in Payment of €3,809.21 which is the same as offered to the Craftworkers in March, 2002, with no adjustment for inflation in the interim. The Unions are seeking an adjustment in the sum offered to take account of wage movements in the interim and accordingly the payment should be adjusted to €4,385.21 (i.e. inflation factor of 15.2%).
3. Meal Breaks on shifts. The Company is seeking a significant adjustment in the meal break in that it now wants a 30 minutes unpaid meal break, extending the working day on shift by 30 minutes. The EO's, consistent with the other elements of the proposed Productivity Agreement are seeking the same provisions as per the Craftworkers i.e.a 30 minute paid break on shift.
4. (i) Broadstone- Canteen. The Unions are seeking the payment of a cooking allowance of approximately €20 on behalf of two workers.
(ii) Broadstone-V.R formula. The Company's offer falls significantly short of a comparable voluntary severance formula on offer to workers in Bus Eireann's sister company- Iarnrod Eireann which was agreed with the Unions in respect of recent freight closures. The Unions have disclosed those terms to the Company which has refused to apply them. These terms should be applied as fair and reasonable.
(iii) Broadstone-Garage Rosters. The starting time should be 7.00a.m. in order to facilitate workers.
5. Tralee. The Company is seeking a roster to extend the opening of the garage by 1.5 hours up to 10.30 p.m. This a significant change from the existing 9.00 p.m. closure which has obvious implications for workers. The Unions' compromise of 10.00p.m. was rejected by Management. In relation to the flexibilities issue workers do not wish to be involved with the cleaning of private buses.
6.Limerick. The workers in the Limerick garage have advised that they do not wish to be part of this referral.
7. Team Leaders. There is no promotional outlet or opportunity for EO's, except outside their grade. The Unions are seeking the establishment of positions of EO Team Leaders. Management has agreed in principle but has not detailed its thinking other than to identify Dublin and Cork as two locations envisaged. The Unions are seeking the extension of the positions to other areas to no avail.
8. Stores Controller posts. The Stores Controller posts were traditionally filled by applicants from the EO grade and this should remain the position into the future.
9. Loss of earnings formula. While Management has accepted the terms of LCR 18352 to apply the same loss of earnings formula as applied to Craft Grades, this requires to be written into the proposed Productivity Agreement as per the Crafts. For good order's sake the ceilings of €12,700 should be adjusted for wage inflation in the interim
4 1. Pay Increase. The revised weekly scale is as per LCR 18352. The scale will apply from the final date of acceptance by the Unions and implementation of the Productivity/Flexibility Agreement particularly in relation to flexibilities, overtime reductions and revised rosters in order to achieve cost savings to fund the pay increase, lead in lump sum and compensation lump sums. There can be no question of retrospection as this would further increase the present prohibitive cost of excessive overtime earnings. It is important to note that the EO's have already been awarded a lead in lump sum payment by the Court in LCR 18352.
2. Lead in Payment. This payment will be implemented in the same way as for Craftworkers.
3. Meal break on shifts. The 30 minute break has been introduced in order to comply with the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997. The shift rosters have to be revised and have to be extended by this time. The Company has proposed that the 30 minute meal break be broken into two 15 minute breaks, one of which is paid and one is unpaid. In this way the Company will not lose out on productivity and the staff will still comply with the Act when clocking-in/ clocking-out.
4. (i)Broadstone-Canteen. The Company is agreeable to pay this allowance.
(ii) Broadstone- VR formula. The Company has made an improved offer on the Voluntary Redundancy package.
(iii) Broadstone - Garage Rosters.The Company's business requirements necessitate an 8.a.m.start.
5. Tralee. The shift roster proposed for the Tralee garage is critical to meet the needs of the Bus Eireann services in the Tralee area. At present the shift finishes at 9.00 p.m. but this still leaves 8 buses to be washed and fuelled and left over until the morning. This in turn puts pressure on everybody to met bus service requirements each morning and can break bus connections and interlinks with other areas' services with resultant knock on effects. The Company originally proposed a 24.00 finish to ensure all vehicles are serviced but have compromised with a 22.30 hours finish which still leaves 3 buses to be completed in the morning.
6. Limerick. The Company requires agreement in the Limerick garage on rosters and the cleaning of buses. Workers there cannot be excluded from the flexibility /productivity agreement.
7. Team Leaders. The Company has agreed to consider the establishment of these posts at locations such as Dublin and Cork.
8. Stores Controller Posts.These posts were traditionally filled by EO grades, however, following the referral of this issue to the Labour Court by the clerical union (TSSA) the Court in LCR 17927 recommended that clerical workers can now also apply for these posts.
9. Loss of Earnings formula. The Company has accepted the terms of LCR18352 and will apply the same loss of earnings formula as applied to the Craftworkers. It will be applied from the date of acceptance of the Productivity Flexibility Agreement.
The case before the Court emanates from an earlier case, Labour Court Recommendation No: 18352 concerning claims arising due to the Company’s proposals under Productivity/Flexibility Agreement for Engineering Operatives. The Recommendation provided for a referral back to the Court of any outstanding issues for a definitive recommendation. The Court recommends as follows: -
Within the context of negotiations on a productivity/flexibility agreement for Engineering Operatives, the Unions sought the restoration of a differential between the Craft rates and the Engineering Operatives rates, following the conclusion of the Productivity/Flexibility Agreement for Craftspersons in 2002. LCR No: 18352 found that an agreement reached in 1998 indicated that
- “although there had been no established percentage in pay prior to this date, this agreement established a relationship however tenuous. ”and recommended “negotiations should proceed on these lines.”
Having examined the proposed scale, the Court is satisfied that the revised scale meets the criteria recommended in LCR No: 18352 and consequently the Court endorses the Company’s position and recommends that the Unions accept the revised scale as outlined on page 5 of the Company’s submission, to take effect from accpetance of the Productivity /Flexibiliity Agreement for Engineering Operatives.
Lead in Payment
The Company has offered to pay the same lead in payment as paid to Craftsperson under their Productivity/Flexibility Agreement i.e. €3,809.21. The Unions sought an increase in the lead in payment to allow for inflationary increases since 2002.
The Court is satisfied that Engineering Operatives should be paid the same lead in payment as paid to Craftsperson, and consequently, recommends that the Unions should accept a lead in payment of €3,809.21 under the terms of the Agreement. With reference to the claim in respect of Electronic Funds Transfer for Engineering Operatives, the Court recommends that this group should have the same arrangements as applied to Craftspersons under their 2002 Agreement.
In line with the practice for Craftspersons, the Court recommends that the two fifteen minute meal breaks provided for Engineering Operatives shiftworkers should be paid.
Broadstone - Canteen
The Unions sought a payment of a cooking allowance to two named individuals in the Broadstone Depot; at the Court hearing the Company agreed to pay this allowance. Therefore, the Court recommends that the allowance should be paid in line with the Company’s commitment.
Broadstone – Central Stores Voluntary Redundancy Formula
At the Court hearing the Company indicated that it had improved the Voluntary Redundancy terms on offer to those employees who wished to avail of a severance package following the closure of the Central Stores at Broadstone. Information was supplied to the Court and the Union on the details of the improved offer. The Court sees no grounds for conceding the enhanced terms sought by the Unions and recommends that the Company’s improved offer should be accepted.
Broadstone – Garage Rosters
The rosters for the Broadstone Garage were agreed between the parties with the exception of the start times. The Unions claimed that the start time should be 7.00am to suit the needs of the workers; while the Company states that it’s requirement is for an 8.00am start. The Court notes that there are opposing views on the duties carried out between the hours of 7.00am and 8.00am. The Court recommends that the parties should identify the actual duties and the employees carrying out these duties, during the period 7.00am and 8.00am. Having done so, the Court recommends that from 1st January 2007, the starting times should be appropriate to the business needs of the Company.
As part of the productivity/flexibility requirements under the proposed agreement, Management sought a change to finishing time in Tralee to cater for the cleaning and servicing of buses. Originally it sought a midnight finishing time, but compromised on a 10.30pm finishing time, which still meant that some buses would have to be cleaned and serviced the following morning. The Union (SIPTU) indicated that it was agreeable to an extension of finishing time, and was prepared to extend the finishing time from 9.00pm to 10.00pm.
The Court recommends that the finishing time in Tralee should be extended to 10.30pm in order to carry out the productivity/flexibility required under the proposed agreement.
The Court sees no reason for the exclusion of Engineering Operatives in the Limerick Depot in an agreement covering Engineering Operatives on a national scale, on productivity/flexibility requirements for the Company going forward. Therefore, the Court’s recommendation should be deemed to cover all Engineering Operatives including those in the Limerick Depot.
The Unions sought the establishment of Engineering Operative Team Leaders positions, as promotional outlets for Engineering Operatives. Clause 10 of the proposed agreement outlines the details of the establishment of such positions, however, only Dublin and Cork have been identified as appropriate locations for such posts. The Court recommends that the rationale for the appropriateness of such positions in locations should be outlined as part of the proposed agreement and an investigation should be carried out to determine if such rationale has been met in the other locations/depots.
Stores Controller Positions
An issue arose over the filling of Stores Controller positions in the future. The Unions maintained that these positions were traditionally filled from among the Engineering Operative Grade and sought to exclude applicants from the clerical grades (represented by TSSA). They have been designated “supervisory” positions and are now part of the Clerical Grading structure.
However, the Labour Court in Recommendation No: 17927 involving Bus �ireann and TSSA, recommended that TSSA members had an equal right to apply for Clerical Grade B positions, consequently, the draft Productivity/Flexibility Agreement February 2006 states:
- “It should be noted that any future vacancies for Stores Controller will be advertised among all relevant grades and will not necessarily be restricted to engineering operatives.”
Having considered this matter, the Court recommends that the Unions accept the proposed wording as outlined above.
Loss of Earnings
The Court recommends that the loss of earnings formulae should be written into the final Productivity/Flexibility Agreement. The ceiling of €12,700, which applies under the formulae, should be adjusted in line with inflation in the interim.
All parts of this recommendation are conditional on overall acceptance as a composite package in full and final settlement of the issues referred to the Court. The Court recommends that the Productivity/Flexibility Agreement should be amended (where necessary) to incorporate the above recommendations and the revised draft should be accepted by all the parties involved.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
29th September, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.