INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LIMERICK CITY COUNCIL
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Application of Sustaining Progress and Benchmarking payment to 40 Fire Officers.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns the non-payment of the full terms of Sustaining Progress and Benchmarking to full –time fire fighters employed by Limerick City Council.
The City Council wished to implement a number of change proposals within its full-time fire service, in accordance with the principles and provisions of Sustaining Progress.
A number of meetings took place between the Council and the Union but no progress was achieved. Both parties were then invited to attend discussions under the auspices of the Local Authority National Council. Settlement proposals were put forward by the Authority which were accepted by the Union and rejected by the Council.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level or under the auspices of the Local Authority National Council and was the subject of two conciliation conferences in June and September of 2006. As no agreement was reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 31st October 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 31st January, 2007.
3. 1. The Union maintain that the change agenda proposed by Limerick City Council did not emerge through the partnership process, but was a unilateral programme developed solely by Management.
2. The change agenda proposed by the City Council was not in any way detailed as a requirement under the main Benchmarking agreements.
3. The Union also maintain that the approach adopted by the City Council is completely out of line with every other local authority employing full-time firefighters.
4. 1. In February 2005 Management placed before the Union a number of change proposals for the Fire Service. This was a process which Management had carried out with all unions and employees of the City Council across its functions.
2. The City Council believed that it was entitled as an employer under the provisions of Sustaining Progress to seek and negotiate change with its employees.
3. As no agreement was reached with the Union the City Council did not recommend for payment of the final 25% of the Benchmarking award and the national pay increase due under Sustaining Progress in June 2005.
4. The City Council believed that their approach was reasonable and consistent with the relevant performance verification provisions of Sustaining Progress.
The Court has considered the submissions made in this matter by the parties.
The Court fully agrees that the Council can place issues in regard to modernisation/ change on the agenda for discussion. This should be done with adequate notice and in the context of a partnership forum in which both sides are represented and fully participate. National and local issues should be seperated and each dealt with in the appropriate arena.
The Court is concerned that a recommendation by the jointly constituted and independently chaired Local Authority NJIC was not accepted as the means of resolving the matter.
The Court now recommends tha the parties proceed in the manner set out above and as outlined by the NJIC and that the payments due under Parallel Benchmarking and Sustaining Progress should be paid from the due dates.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27th February, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.