INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY FEDERATION
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY COMMITTEE OF ICTU)
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Subsistence (Country Money)
2. This case concerns a dispute between the Costruction Industry Committee (CIC) of Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) in
relation to the qualifying criteria to receive Subsistence Allowance (Country Money) while employed in the Construction Industry.
The CIC position is that Clause 8 of the Registered Employment Agreement (REA) (Wages and Conditions of Employment) provides for the payment of the allowance where workers "reside away from home" in the course of their duties but that recent revenue guidelines have removed the need to "reside away from home" to qualify for the payment. The Unions' position is that it is the REA interpretation that is used in practice which causes confusion in the sector. The Unions are seeking that an appropriate wording be agreed between the parties for inclusion in the REA. The CIF position is that the wording in the REA is the appropriate reference for the payment and not Revenue guidelines on the basis that the REA is an Industrial Relations Agreement and should not have its provisions altered on the basis of third party involvement/guidelines.
The dispute was not resolved at local level or through discussions at Joint Industrial Council (JIC) level. The matter was then the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached the matter was referred to the Labour Court on 14th January 2008 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on13th February, 2008.
3 1 Recent Revenue guidelines have removed the need to reside away from home in order to qualify for the allowance. A form of wording should be agreed between the parties for inclusion in the REA to clear up the confusion that exists in the sector.
2 The payment of the allowance is not subject to taxation on the basis that it is paid to cover expenses. If the REA provides a figure that is taxable, the workers involved will incur significant losses.
4 1 It is inappropriate to amend an industrial relations agreement on the basis of third party guidelines. The agreement has been made between the parties of the JIC.
2 The allowance included in the REA is a gross figure which is subject to relevant taxation on the basis of revenue guidelines.
The Court accepts in principal the argument made by the Trade Union Group and recommends that in order to end confusion in this area, that the parties should meet in order to finalise a wording which reflects this view.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd March 2008______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.