INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Ms Doyle
Worker Member: Mr McCarthy
1. Attendance recording.
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between the Employer and the Union in relation to the Employer's proposed introduction of an online attendance recording system. The updated online system seeks to replace the flexi-time system that is currently in place for approximately 350 members of the CPSU based in the GPO, Dublin. The Employer contends that the current flexi-time swipe system is outdated and requires modernisation as it is not linked to current IT systems in use in the GPO. The Employer further contends that it requires standardisation of the attendance recording system across all grades of employees and the new system has already been implemented for other employees based in the GPO. The Union rejects the Employer's position and has presented a number of claims to be met before agreement on the implementation of the new system is reached.
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 23rd May, 2014, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 16th July, 2014.
3. 1. The Union, in return for agreement to the implementation of the new system, is seeking an overhaul of the current flexi-time system including the widening of flexi-time attendance bands, an increase in the number of flexi days that can be accumulated within the flexi period, access to the flexi-time system for new recruits who are currently subjected to a six month probationary period and retention of zonal clocking arrangements.
2. The Union contends that the introduction of the new attendance management system is a cost-saving initiative for the Employer. The Union further contends that the claims presented to the Employer are not cost-increasing in nature. Furthermore, its members have fully co-operated with previous cost-saving measures implemented by the Employer.
4. 1. The Employer asserts that there is a business requirement to introduce a standardised and modernised attendance recording system for all of its employees.
2. The Employer maintains that the implementation of the new system will offer an enhanced service to both the Company and employees.
3. The Employer is not in a position to concede the Union's claims.
The first point for consideration in this case is whether the changes in issue constitute normal ongoing change. If the changes can be so characterised the Union is committed to cooperating with the system under its existing agreement with the Company.
In previous recommendations this Court has held the concept of normal ongoing change should be understood as involving the use of new systems or methods in providing the same service or undertaking what is essentially the same task. In this instance various systems of time recording are applied by the Company, including recording by management. What is now in issue involves a new and uniform system of time recording. In that sense it is clearly a new system of undertaking the same task.
In these circumstances the Court is satisfied that the disputed proposal constitutes normal ongoing change. In accordance with the current agreement the Union should accept and cooperate with the new system.
The Court recommends that the new system be now introduced and that its operation be reviewed after it has been in operation for a period of six months. At that point any operational issues identified in the review should be addressed between the parties.
In these circumstances the Court cannot recommend concession of the Union’s claims associated with the introduction of the new system.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
13th August 2014______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to John Foley, Court Secretary.