INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(2), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
IRISH AVIATION AUTHORITY
- AND -
AMICUS - ATOA
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Dispute as to whether changes are "normal ongoing change" as provided for under Towards 2016
2. The Company is seeking to implement a number of changes in its engineering operations. The Union considers these changes to fall outside of normal on-going change under the National Agreement, Towards 2016. Four areas were recognised by the Union. These were the Northern Oceanic Transition Area (NOTA), Service Delivery Strategy (SDS), COOPANS and European Safety Regulatory Requirement 5 (ESARR 5). The Union contends that the changes in these areas would have a significant impact on the work of engineers. The Company regards the changes in these areas as normal and that continuous technological change was the life blood of the sector they operate in.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 26th April, 2007 in accordance with Section 20(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and both parties agreed to be bound by the Recommendation. A Labour Court hearing took place on 3rd August, 2007.
3. 1 The incorporation of NOTA adds an increase of 26% to the area being monitored by engineers. Additional communication and equipment sites have been established. These sites are in remote regions and require extensive travel time when maintenance is required. The workload of engineers has been increased significantly.
2 The initial reorganisation under SDS has resulted in an increase in workload for the engineers and an increase in the complexity of their tasks. The further reorganisation that is planned will have a further significant impact on engineering workloads.
3 If the COOPANS Review Study is to be implemented there will be a requirement to install and monitor a new Air Traffic Management system in parallel with the current one. This will have an immense impact on engineering operations with an anticipated 50% increase in workload during the installation and transition phase.
4 The implementation of ESARR 5 requires an engineer to undergo an annual competency check with a very real possibility of failure. The Union accepts and welcomes this highly desirable objective. Nevertheless, the workload of implementing and maintaining such a scheme should not be underestimated, nor should the additional stress of formal examination on the engineer in a safety critical workplace.
1 From an Air Traffic Management perspective the NOTA has not changed the working methods or conditions of engineers in any way, shape or form. The increase in engineering workload associated with NOTA is less than 1% of total engineering workdays per annum and was included in calculating current staff requirements. The Company considers the implementation of the NOTA as on-going change for engineering staff aimed at consolidating the Company's position and maintaining the employment of its staff.
2 The implementation of SDS is normal ongoing change aimed at meeting present day challenges for the provision of more cost effective services to customers. The impact of SDS on engineers is negligible as evidenced by the fact that the consultants devoted less than 2% of their report to engineer issues.
3 The transition to the COOPANS system will be simpler than the transition from the original system to the current system in 2004. There is no additional monitoring workload being introduced as a result of the COOPANS system.
4 The Company welcomes a regulated engineering regime. Engineering training will continue to be upgraded with the introduction of newer systems and technologies and ESAAR 5 structures will consolidate the transition associated with this change. The Company looks forward to the introduction of the EU regulated Engineer Training and Competence scheme.
The Court has taken full and careful account of the submissions of the parties.
The Court is satisfied that the change associated with the NOTA initiative goes beyond what could be properly classified as normal ongoing change. However, in respect of the other initiatives giving rise to this dispute the Court is satisfied that the degree of change involved is properly classified as normal on-going change.
The Court recommends that further discussions take place between the parties in respect of the NOTA initiative. The Court further recommends that the Union accepts that the change associated with the other initiatives is compensated for by the standard terms of the pay agreement associated with Towards 2016.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st August, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to David P Noonan, Court Secretary.