INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
PUBLIC SERVICE EXECUTIVE UNION
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
COMMUNICATION WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Mr Hayes
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. On call and call-out allowances.
2. The Unions are seeking a review of the current position of the on-call allowance, on-call rates, extra attendance rates, call-out rates for approximately 30 workers in the Company's Information Technology (IT) Department. They are also seeking compensation for the removal or reduction of on-call payments to a number of these workers. The Unions are seeking substantial percentage increases for the period 2002 - 2008. The Company had offered an increase of 5% in 2008 from a current date but this was rejected by the Unions who believe that 27% - 30% would be needed to bring the allowances up to date. The Company's view is that due to its current serious financial situation it cannot afford the increases.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) and a conciliation conference took place. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 27th April, 2010, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 29th July, 2010.
3. 1. There was no increase in the allowances from 2002 - 2008 despite an agreement in 2002 that they would be reviewed on an annual basis. The Unions are not seeking an increase for 2009 as they have agreed certain cost-saving measures with the Company in the eircom Accord of 2009. The claims predate the Accord.
2. The Company's offer of 3 months' compensation for those with change/removal of the on-call allowance is totally inadequate as some of the claimants held the allowance in excess of 12 years.
4. 1. The Unions' claims are cost increasing at a time of unprecedented financial and competitive pressure facing the Company. It is disingenuous of them to have agreed to pay cuts as per the 2009 Accord and yet to seek increases in the various allowances.
2. From 2006 - 2008 the Company indicated a willingness to review all the allowances/rates in the context of overhauling the pay bands, many of which were out of line with industry norms. Despite this, the Unions would not entertain any agreement resulting in the eventual termination of discussions.
The Court has carefully considered the submissions of both parties and recommends as follows:-
Increase in Allowances
The Court recommends that the Company's offer to increase the allowances by 5% with effect from 1st July, 2008, is fair and reasonable and should, in the current economic and financial circumstances, be accepted in full and final settlement of the claim.
For the purpose of clarity the Court intends that the increase of 5% will be applied to a) the On Call Allowance; b) the Additional Hours Allowance where the option of a cash award is applied and c) the value of the Call Out Allowance.
Review of Allowances
The Court notes that, contrary to agreements in place, no review of these allowances was carried out for several years. Accordingly, the Court further recommends that the parties strictly adhere to the review arrangements set out in the various relevant agreements on these matters.
Compensation for loss of On Call Allowance
The Court notes that this allowance is included for the purposes of determining pensionable pay. With this in mind, the Court recommends that the Company compensate workers, from whom the allowance is removed, in the sum of 1.5 times the annual loss incurred, subject to a maximum of €12,700 euro per person.
The Court makes this Recommendation in full and final settlement of all issues submitted to it in the course of the hearing of the case.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th August, 2010.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.