INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
IARNROD EIREANN (IRISH RAIL)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL & TECHNICAL UNION
NATIONAL BUS & RAILWORKERS UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Ms Cryan
Worker Member: Mr Shanahan
1. Disturbance Payments 'New Work Employees'.
2. The case relates to ninety seven staff working on the 'New Works Programme' who have been transferred to other locations and the numbers involved is increasing due to staffing demands. Technical staff are represented by the NBRU while the General operatives are represented by SIPTU. It is common case that a collective agreement is in place regarding compensation for staff moving location but the Company are pleading inability to pay.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of Conciliation Conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 4th April 2013, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 18th July, 2013.
3. 1.In 2006 an agreement to effect relocation payments for redeployed staff was put in place and has subsequently been applied throughout the Company. The Company has had ample opportunity at the LRC hearings to raise any issue they may have had regarding the agreement, but they have failed to do so.
2. The Company is in breach of a collective agreement of which it is a signatory.
4.1. The potential cost of this claim is in the region of €150k to €200k, the payment of taxpayer's money in this regard would be inappropriate and the Company's financial position does not allow for the payment of this additional cost.
2. The payment of this claim will serve to increase the deficit to be bridged and increase the burden of payroll-savings on other employees.
The Company acknowledges that a collective agreement is currently in place providing for the payments in issue in this case. It is, in effect pleading inability to honour the terms of the agreement. It is noted that the terms of the agreement do not link the entitlement of staff to these payments with the financial circumstances of the Company at the time that they fall due.
No collective agreement can be regarded as immutable for all time. If circumstances change so as to render the terms of the agreement inappropriate or non-viable it is open to either party to seek its renegotiation or termination. If necessary the normal disputes procedures, including a reference to this Court, can be utilised if the parties fail to reach agreement in that regard.
However, the requirements of orderly industrial relations dictate that for as long as a collective agreement remains extant it should be honoured. Accordingly, the Court recommends that the Company acknowledge that the monies claimed on foot of the collective agreement are due and owing to the individuals concerned. For their part the Union should acknowledge that the current financial circumstances of the Company prevent it from making those payments at this time.
The Court recommends that the payment of the amounts due be deferred until the completion of the Cost Containment (2) Agreement in 2017.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
12th August, 2013______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to John Foley, Court Secretary.