INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
WATERFORD CITY COUNCIL
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Extension of retirement age.
2. This case concerns a dispute between Waterford City Council and SIPTU in relation to the retirement of a member of the Waterford City Council's Fire Service. The Claimant was employed as a firefighter with Waterford City Council since 1979 and retired in 2006, having reached the compulsory retirement age of 55.
The Union's position in this case is that the firefighter did not obtain full pension entitlements prior to retirement and are seeking that he be reinstated to obtain the additional service to secure full pension entitlements.
The Employer rejects the claim on the basis that the contract of employment provided for a retirement age of 55 and any concession in this regard would lead to repercussive claims in the future.
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 26th June, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 6th February, 2007, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The firefighter had 26 years of exemplary service. It is unfair that Waterford City Council did not accommodate his request to remain in employment to obtain full pension entitlements.
2. There will be no repercussive claims as a result of this issue. The Claimant is one of only a very small minority who will face this difficulty.
4. 1. The worker retired as per his contract of employment, when he reached 55 years of age. This is the compulsory retirement age for firefighters.
2. Concession of the Union's request will lead to repercussive claims as there will be others who will seek to change the retirement age in individual circumstances as they occur. Changes in the retirement age of firefighters is an issue that should be dealt with at national level.
The issue before the Court concerns the Union’s claim on behalf of a full time firefighter for an extension of his retirement age to enable him to accrue full pension benefits. The firefighter in question had completed over 26 years service and required a further 3½ years service in order to qualify for full pension benefits. He was required to retire at age 55 years.
The Court is satisfied that the Claimant’s contract of employment, which was issued to him at the commencement of his employment, clearly stated that he would be required to cease employment as a firefighter at age 55 years. A copy of his contract was provided to the Court for examination.
Consequently, the Court sees no merit in the Union’s claim and therefore rejects the claim.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th February, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.