INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
MCGRATH INDUSTRIAL WASTE
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Agreement on parity with County Council workers
2. This case concerns a dispute between the Company and SIPTU in relation to the rates of pay applicable to drivers employed by the Company. The Company is involved in the waste collection business and has been operating for approximately 30 years. The Union's position is that an agreement was reached betwen the parties that employees of the Company would be aligned for pay puposes to refuse collection drivers (Plant Operator B grade). The Union also contends that this link has not been maintained and the rates of pay have fallen out of line.
The Company's position is that the Union has sought parity with County Council refuse drivers but that no such agreement was made.
The dispute was not 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 matter was referred to the Labour Court on 16th December 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 3rd October, 2005 the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. In December 1997 an agreement was concluded wth the Company that their drivers would be aligned for pay purposes to refuse collection drivers employed by Mayo County Council. The Council's drivers are graded at Plant Operator B Grade which was the appropriate established at the time. Increases due under National Wage Agreements would also be applied as they came due for payment
2. The workers in question have not been paid the correct entitlements since the Agreement was concluded in 1997. The Union's claim to have the link re-established and retrospection paid tothe workers is fair and reasonable in the circumstances.
4. 1 There was no agreement reached in relation to a link between the payscale of refuse collectors employed by the County Council and the workers employed by the Company. At the time, an agreement was reached which set a rate for the individuals in question not for the job being discussed.
2. The Company apply generous rates of pay and guaranteed bonuses to its employees. It also applies incresases due under National Wage Agreements. Any additional costs in relation to rates of pay are unsustainable and would inevitably lead to job losses in the Company
The Court is fully satisfied that a collective agreement was concluded between the parties in or about January 1998, fixing the rate of pay applicable to drivers employed by the company.
However the full details of what was agreed are far from clear and in many respects it would appear that the parties were at cross-purposes in their understanding of what was intended.
What is clear is that the rate for a driver was fixed at £230. 00 or £230.75 in January 1998 terms. It is also clear that this was intended to constitute the rate for the job and was not confined in its application to particular individuals. It is also clear that this rate was fixed by reference to the second point on the Plant Operator B rate in the Mayo County Council. However there is no evidence of any agreement to establish ongoing pay parity with that grade. In that regard it is noted that the claim served by the Union in December 1997 sought to have the rate agreed adjusted by national wage agreements.
In all the circumstances of this case the Court is of the view that the agreement at issue provides for the establishment of a rate of pay for all drivers at the euro equivalent of £230 .75 in January 1998 terms. That rate should be adjusted by the application of all phases of national pay agreements which became due in the interim.
For the avoidance of doubt the Court further recommends that the date of application of the various phases of national agreements should be the same as that applicable in Local Authority Employments. Where workers are on higher rates they should retain them on a red-circled basis.
The increases recommended should be retrospective to the date of claim – January 2005.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd October 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.