INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(2), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
IRISH AVIATION AUTHORITY
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Dispute as to whether changes are "normal ongoing change" as provided for under 'Towards 2016'.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCO's) employed by the Irish Aviation Authority at its Dublin, Shannon and Cork stations and in Headquarters.
The Authority is seeking to implement a change agenda consisting of some 15 items which they claim are part of 'normal ongoing change' as provided for under Towards 2016, and which should be implemented in return for the pay provisions of Towards 2016.
The Union contends that the change agenda constitutes change above and beyond 'normal ongoing change' and is not comprehended by the basic pay provisions of Towards 2016. The Union believe that the change agenda should be negotiated and agreed between the parties and that it warrants a pay increase in excess of the basic terms of Towards 2016.
The Authority maintain that ongoing change is and will continue to be a normal feature of the aviation industry. None of the initiatives will involve fundamental changes in the way Air Traffic Controllers perform their individual duties and there will be no loss of employment. The normal ongoing changes which the Authority is putting in place will maintain employment thus meeting the aspirations of the National Agreements.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of two conciliation conferences on the 4th and 13th October 2006, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 24th October, 2006, in accordance with
Clause 27 of "Towards 2016" on behalf of the parties under Section 20 (2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969, with both parties accepting the outcome. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 9th January, 2007.
3. 1.The Union maintain that the changes sought by the Authority are exceptional and non-routine and do not constitute 'normal ongoing change'.
2.The job of the Air Traffic Controllers will become more complex and demanding as a direct result of these changes.
3. It was clearly understood by the Union that the changes would be introduced in the context of an agreement on "major change" and that a corresponding pay increase would be available for negotiation.
4. 1. The Authority regards all of the issues as being part of 'normal ongoing change', aimed at meeting customer demands and which are compensated through application of the pay increases in Towards 2016.
2. The work of individual Air Traffic Controllers will not change in any fundamental way.
3. The Authority must anticipate and respond to the increasing level of air traffic and of technological complexities which govern air navigation services.
Having considered the detailed submissions made by the parties, the Court notes that it is agreed by the parties that some of the issues discussed are covered by ''normal ongoing change'.
The Court is of the view, however, that the other elements ventilated at the hearing do not constitute "normal ongoing change" and are deserving of further discussion between the parties.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
12th January, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.