INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LIMERICK COUNTY COUNCIL
(REPRESENTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT AGENCY)
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Ms Cryan
Worker Member: Mr Shanahan
1. (1) Compensation For Loss Of Expenses; (2) Assimilation To LSI 2 On Regrading; (3) Availability of 1987 Redundancy Deal.
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between the Employer and the Union on behalf of its members in relation to a claim for compensation for loss of expenses, assimilation to Long Service Increment LSI2 on Regrading and the availability of a redundancy package agreed in 1987. The dispute relates specifically to outstanding issues arising from the proposed restructuring of the "Revenue Collectors" grade within Limerick County Council. The Revenue Collectors Grade historically involved the door-to-door collecting of outstanding rent and other monies owed to the Council. This process has since become more modernised and office-based, and no longer wholly entails door-to-door money collection. Consequently, the role no longer attracts the payment of travel expenses associated with door-to-door collections. Since the commencement of the restructuring process, the remaining Revenue Collectors within the Council have been regraded to a Grade V on the relevant point of the applicable salary scale, as has been the practice within other Local Authorities that have also undergone reorganisation. The Union is seeking the application of a redundancy package previously agreed in 1987. The Employer rejects the Union's position. Extensive negotiations have taken place however 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 14th September, 2012, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 8th November, 2012.
3. 1. The 1987 redundancy deal has been applied in other Local Authorities. The Union maintains it should be applied in this instance.
2. The Union is seeking a buy-out of the travel expenses at a rate of 3 times the annual loss.
3. The Union is further seeking assimilation to the second Long Service Increment LS12 on the Grade V scale.
4. 1. The 1987 redundancy deal has now expired and is no longer available. As a result it cannot be applied.
2. The Council is bound by the terms of the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 and is not in a position to concede the Union's claim in relation to the travel expenses buy-out. The Council is in a position to offer a buy-out at 1.5 times the annual loss.
3. In accordance with Departmental Circulars, the Council is not in a position to apply assimilation to the second Long Service Increment LS12 on the Grade V scale. Accordingly, the Council has offered assimilation to the first Long Service Increment on the scale.
This case concerns a number of issues referred by the Union following prolonged discussions on the Council’s proposal to reorganise its Revenue Collection Services and the introduction of a new Debt Management Unit in line with similar restructuring of services which have taken place in other Local Authorities. The Union are now seeking application of the ‘national offer’ which was available to other Local Authorities, but previously rejected in this case.
Following the discussions the remaining issues in dispute concern the Union’s claim for (i) application of the 1987 early retirement or voluntary redundancy scheme, (ii) assimilation to the second long service increment on the Grade V salary scale and (iii) a buy-out of pre-existing travel allowance using a multiplier of 3.
Having considered the submissions of both sides the Court recommends as follows;
- i)application of the 1987 early retirement or voluntary redundancy scheme
The Court notes that the 1987 Public Sector Voluntary Early Retirement scheme was included in the ‘national offer’ and the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement was available to the Claimants up until 30thSeptember 2009 and is no longer available. Currently redundancies of public servants as defined under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts 2009 – 2011 is the only option available, since 1stJune 2012.
The Court cannot recommend the re-opening of redundancy scheme which expired in September, 2009 and accordingly does not recommend in favour of the Union’s claim.
ii)(ii) assimilation to the second long service increment on the Grade V salary scale
The Union submitted that due to the level of responsibility associated with the role of Revenue Collector that the Claimants should be assimilated onto LSI 2 of Staff Officer Grade V. The Council submitted to the Court that the Claimants had been assimilated onto the Grade V, in accordance with Circular 5/67.
The Court notes that the new title for the existing incumbents will be “Staff Officer Grade V Revenue Collector” in recognition of the expertise/responsibility attached to the role. Having considered the submission made the Court is satisfied that LSI 2 should be applied to the Claimants in question and accordingly recommends concession of the Union’s claim.
- iii)a buy-out of pre-existing travel allowance using a multiplier of 3
As the restructured role essentially is office based an agreement was reached to buy out the travel allowance at a rate of 22 ½% of the Revenue Collectors pre restructuring salary. The Union sought a multiplier of three times the annual loss as applied in the ‘national offer’, however, the Council rejected that claim and held that it was no longer on offer and that it is now well established that the calculation for a compensation buy-out is a multiplier of one-and-a -half time the annual loss.
The Court cannot recommend the reintroduction of an offer which has since expired and accordingly recommends that a compensation multiplier of one-and-a -half time the annual loss should apply to the buy-out of the travel allowance.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th November 2012______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Sharon Cahill, Court Secretary.