INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
DUN LAOGHAIRE - RATHDOWN COUNTY COUNCIL
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Proposals for rationalisation of refuse collection service.
2. Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has been in discussions with the Unions in relation to the Council’s proposals for rationalisation of its refuse collection service. This included the introduction, in January 2005, of a new system for the collection and payment of the refuse service known as “Pay by Weight”, a system that has led to a major reduction in the level of presentation of bins by householders. The Council and the Unions agreed that a major review of the service was to take place in June 2005. The Council put the following proposals forward in July 2006:
- •Basic pay to incorporate the productivity allowance and the Pay by Weight allowance for full Pay by Weight implementation including enforcement, i.e. the addition of 7.5 hours pay per week to the current rate of basic pay. This in turn would increase travel time allowance and overtime pay rates as well as having greater long-term benefits for superannuation purposes.
•Once off payment based on South Dublin Agreement factored up over three years and further increased to allow for 1,600 houses instead of 1,450 amounting to €2,450. This sum is increased to €3,000 in recognition of the immediate increase in house numbers rather than phased increase as in South Dublin County Council.
•The payment of an allowance of 1 hour per day at time plus a half for four weeks on each of the revised new routes in respect of a lead in period for the commencement of enforcement.
The Unions agreed to a number of items within the proposal but their position remains that the 1 hour at time plus a half i.e. 7 hours per week currently paid to their members for cooperation with the rejection of bins be retained and extended to all other routes when introduced. The Unions contend that this payment is an established payment agreed with Management and was a cost-saving exercise, as previously, to allow for rejection of bins, an Engineer or Inspector’s presence was required at all times. This was a very high cost to the Council and therefore they have made a considerable saving as a result of this arrangement. The Unions claim is for a share in the considerable savings the Council would make following agreement on the re-organisation of the wheeled bin service.
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 21st July, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 29th September, 2006.
3. 1. It is not unreasonable for the Union members to expect a share of the savings the Council would make resulting from the major concessions the Unions were prepared to make. Management has been very negative in it’s response despite the Union’s efforts to negotiate with it.
2. The Union entered into negotiations with a positive attitude and the desire to place the refuse service on a sound footing, free from disputes and with a recognition from Management that a fair share of the savings made were a matter for discussion and agreement.
3. The Council’s savings in this agreement will be on going and should provide far more efficiencies, however the Union’s members will not be “short changed”. The Union has been fair and constructive in its approach right throughout the negotiations and the level of remuneration now being sought is very reasonable
4. 1. The permanent payment of this allowance will effectively result in an additional cost in the order of 20% per employee in addition to an increased remuneration offer made by management. It is the Council’s contention that the rationalization of the service will reduce the current costs of collection but only to a level below that of 2005.
2. The savings that result from the implementation of management’s proposal will have to be for the benefit of the consumers, as the current cost of collection is entirely unsustainable.
3. The offer made by the Council is in line with similar agreements reached in two neighbouring local authorities. The Council has addressed all the elements contained in those agreements and the concessions of additional elements in respect of remuneration by this Council may have consequential knock on claims from employees in other sections of this Council and in the neighbouring authorities.
Having examined the submissions of the parties it is the view of the Court that, given the amount of work already done by both sides towards implementation, the matter should be fully and finally resolved by the Council increasing the period of the lead-in allowance from four weeks to six and this being accepted by the Unions.
This will leave the Council free to implement the overall agreement.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
5th October, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.