INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
SLIGO BOROUGH COUNCIL
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner Recommendation r-057684-ir-07/SR
2. This case concerns an appeal by the employer of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-057684-Ir-07/SR. The dispute concerns a claim by the Union for 95% of the craft rate of pay for a General Operative employed by the Council on the basis of the additional skills and duties carried out.
Management reject the claim on the basis that the worker is in receipt of an allowance to take into account the additional skills and duties undertaken. It further contends that the "Main Trade Make Good" Agreement of 1997 provides for the devolution of non-core craft work to General Operatives.
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner who issued his Recommendation on 8th May 2008, as follows:
" There is broad agreement between the parties as to the duties carried out by the claimant. I am satisfied that much of the work carried out by the claimant has a craft dimension to it.
The claimant brings a considerable degree of skill and experience to the job to the advantage of the employer. I note that he is not supervised by a creaftsman while doing his work.
There is considerable merit in the claim and Irrecommend that the employer, without precedent pay the claimant 95% of the craft rate effective from 1st April 2007.
In respect of the question of the car allowanc, I recommendthat there should be direct negotiations between the Union and Management on this, with if necessary and appropriate the assistance of a third party.
On the 18th June 2008, the employer appealed the decision of the Rights Commissioner in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on 27th November, 2008
3 1. The worker carries out duties beyond those expected of General Operatives and should be paid the appropriate percentage of the craft rate.
2. The ability of the worker to carry out such skilled work saves management from the expense of employing additional qualified craftsmen.
4. 1. It is accepted that the worker carries out work at a high skill level, which is reflected in the additional payment of €24.19 received each week.
2 The rates of pay for local authoritiesare agreed nationally and the claim as presented is cost increasing and unsustainable.
3 Concession of the claim would be inappropriate and lead to subsequent repercussive claims.
The appeal before the Court is made on behalf of Sligo Borough Council concerning the Union’s claim for payment of 95% of the craft rate to a named general operative employed on road works, repair of footpaths and replacing of kerbs, etc. The Rights Commissioner recommended concession of the claim.
The Union submitted that some of the duties performed by the worker were craftworkers duties and accordingly sought payment of the differential.
The Borough Council rejected the claim, stating that the pay rates applicable were determined through national agreements and there is no national rate of 95% of the craft rate. It stated that in addition to the work carried out by the team involved in the road works, he is paid an additional allowance of €24.19 per week for the extra responsibilities he carries out in connection with “finishing/floating off” of concrete.
The Court has considered the submissions of both parties. The Court notes that under the “Main Trade Make Good” Agreement, entered into as part of the Analogue Agreement of 1997, general operatives and related grades are required to cooperate with the continued devolution of non-core craftwork.
The Court does not accept that the worker is entitled to a differential of 95% of the craft rate and moreover, this is a cost increasing claim under the terms of “Towards 2016” and is consequently debarred under the terms of that agreement.
The Court upholds the County Council’s appeal and overturns the Rights Commissioner’s Recommendation.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd December 2008______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.