INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LONGFORD COUNTY COUNCIL
(REPRESENTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES BOARD)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Failure to compensate a Water Caretaker for undertaking sewerage duties
2. The worker was appointed, according to the Council, to the post of Waterworks and Sewerage Caretaker in March, 1979. Following one year's probation he was appointed to a Grade 2 post, and in 1981 he was appointed to Grade 3. In 1983, a National Agreement was reached between the parties on structures and wages for Water and Sewerage Caretaker. In December, 2000/January, 2001, the Union made a claim for all Caretakers to be appointed to Grade 5 and, following the completion of Parallel Benchmarking, the upgrading took place in February, 2006. The Union's case is that the worker was performing two separate duties, i.e. Water Caretaker and Sewerage Caretaker and should have been paid accordingly. The Union claims that the worker concerned was one of two employees engaged in this dual role but that the second employee - who worked in Granard - received one hour's overtime per day which brought his pay up to that of a Grade 5. The Union's claim is that from January, 2001, to February, 2006, the worker concerned was paid at Grade 3 instead of Grade 5, and it is seeking a retrospective payment of €20,000.
The case was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place. As the parties did not reach agreement the case was referred to the Labour Court on the 24th of July, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 28th of September, 2006.
3. 1. If the Council had paid the worker the one hour's overtime paid to the employee in Granard it would have equalled the pay of a Grade 5, which is what the Union is claiming. It is unfair that one employee should receive the payment but not the worker concerned.
2. The 1983 Agreement clearly showed the two duties as separate (details supplied to the Court). Even if the Council had paid the worker at Grade 5 it would still have made a substantial saving as he was, in effect, doing two jobs but only being paid for one.
3. There would be no knock-on effect from the claim.
4. 1. In Local Authorities, generally, it is common for caretakers to look after waterworks and sewerage works. The appropriate grading structure for Water and / or Sewerage Caretakers was introduced by agreement with the relevant Trade Unions.
2. There were no changes to the worker's duties until the restructuring was introduced, on a trial basis, in February, 2006. Following the extension of his duties the worker was regraded to Grade 5. The claim, therefore, is unjustified.
Having considered the submissions, it is the view of the Court that the Agreement reached and implemented in February, 2006, resolved the matter finally. The Court, accordingly, does not see merit in the Union's claim and does not recommend its concession.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th October, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.