INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. The Non-Application Of Church Holidays
2. In 1987 the parties reached agreement concerning the abolition of Church holidays. The Union claims that the University has not honoured the agreement since 2000 and that in comparison to other Universities, University College Cork has fallen behind in relation to annual leave. The Union argues that following the agreement reached in 1987, administrative staff were awarded 5 extra days annual leave in compensation for the loss of Church holidays. These days were to be in excess of any statutory entitlements. In 2000 the staff concerned became aware that despite the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 increasing statutory leave entitlements, their overall leave entitlements remained virtually the same. The University argues that the 1987 agreement clearly specifies that these 5 days are annual leave days. The University's position is that ten years in advance of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 the union entered an agreement whereby administrative grades received an entitlement of 5 days additional annual leave in exchange for the abolition of church holidays.
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 15th August, 2007 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 19th February, 2008.
3. 1 The University have refused to honour in full the agreement reached in 1987 over additional annual leave. There is no ambiguity that these extra days leave were entitlements as compensation for the abolished Church Holidays.
2 The Union's members are behind staff in UCC and in other Universities in relation to Church Holidays. Failure by Management to honour the agreement of 1987 may lead to difficulties on future restructuring negotiations
3 In custom and practice from 1979 to 1987 the additional leave was continually regarded as excess above all other leave. Following the 1987 agreement, the Union sought and received clarification from the University that the additional leave in lieu of Church Holidays was regarded as in excess of all other leave.
4. 1The factual position is that in addition to a total of 8 days leave at Christmas and Easter administrative staff at the University are entitled to a minimum of 21 days paid leave per annum at entry level including 5 extra days annual leave in lieu of Church Holidays. This is a total of 29 days
2 Apart from 20 days paid annual leave and Public Holidays the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 does not provide for any additional holidays and therefore no statutory entitlement to same.
3 The 1987 agreement clearly specifies that the 5 days in contention are annual leave days.
The Court is of the view that the workers current annual leave entitlement accords with the spirit of the 1987 Agreement on abolition of Church Holy days and that no case has been established for a further increase in this entitlement. The Court does not accordingly recommend concession of the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
5th March, 2008______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to David P Noonan, Court Secretary.