INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
NATIONAL BUS RAILWORKERS UNION
Chairman: Mr Hayes
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr Shanahan
1. Switch to electronic fund transfer.
2. The case concerns a dispute between Bus Eireann, SIPTU and the NBRU regarding a proposal to convert staff members currently paid their wages by cash or cheque to payment by electronic funds transfer (e.f.t.). Management argues that payment by electronic funds transfer is now ubiquitous and that the payment of wages by cash is no longer either appropriate or necessary and cannot be justified on cost grounds. It further argues that changes in the banking system makes it impossible for it to guarantee the payment of wages in cash with the regularity and consistency that staff members are entitled to expect.
Management states that it is prepared to consider a token payment to the staff directly affected but cannot agree to extend any such payment beyond that group. The NBRU argues that the staff members affected by this proposal have a statutory entitlement to payment by cash. It argues that transfer to payment by e.f.t. can only be brought about on a voluntary basis. It further argues that all staff members whose employment commenced before 1991 and who agreed to change to the payment of wages by electronic funds transfer are statutorily entitled to revert to payment by cash. It argues that, as a consequence, they are entitled to be encompassed by any offer of compensation for transfer to payment of wages by e.f.t.
SIPTU argues that transfer to the payment of wages by e.f.t. must be brought about by agreement with those affected. It argues that this can only be achieved by way of an incentive payment to the staff affected for agreeing to move from payment of wages by cash to e.f.t.
3 1.The workers affected have a statutory entitlement to payment of wages in cash and cannot be compelled to transfer to e.f.t.
- 2.The individuals affected have many and varied reasons for resisting the payment of wages by e.f.t. Accordingly, a one size fits all approach to effecting such a transfer could not be collectively agreed and enforced amongst this disparate and varied group of workers.
41 Management states that it is difficult to source cash for the payment of wages and doing so is time consuming and costly. Management further argues that there are substantial security risks associated with the sourcing, collection, retention and distribution of cash in the company.
2 The payment of wages by e.f.t. is efficient and cost effective for the Company and convenient and effective for staff in the management of their financial affairs.
3 All of the affected staff will be required to transfer to e.f.t. should they seek to extend their working life with the Company beyond normal retirement age. Furthermore all company pensions are paid by eft. Accordingly, all of the affected staff members will be transferred to payments by e.f.t. at some point in their careers. To delay that at this time is not reasonable and should not be supported by the Court.
4 The Company considered making a token payment to the group of workers affected in return for agreeing to transfer to e.f.t. However, the Company cannot contemplate a substantive payment to this group or any payment to any other group that may claim to have an entitlement to it.
Having carefully considered the submissions of all parties in this dispute the Court finds that Management’s proposal to presently move the remaining 63 staff members to payment by Electronic Funds Transfer is fair and reasonable and should be accepted by the Unions.
When effecting the transfer the Company and Unions should agree that any of the 63 staff members affected that can show reasonable grounds for remaining on cash payments should be so accommodated by the Company.
In addition, staff that can demonstrate a particular difficulty or difficulties in moving to the new arrangements should be afforded additional time to adapt to them.
Disputes regarding whether or not a member of staff has made out reasonable grounds in their particular circumstances, or that they will experience exceptional difficulty adapting to the new payment method, should be jointly referred through the normal procedures to the “Internal Tribunal” for adjudication where necessary.
In addition the Court recommends that the Company tailor support, over a period of up to 12 months, to the 63 staff members affected to ease their adoption of the processes and procedures of the new financial institutions with which they will necessarily engage in the discharge of their financial affairs.
On this basis, and without prejudice to the statutory rights of any person affected, the Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th August, 2014______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.