INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
NATIONAL GALLERY OF IRELAND
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Ms Cryan
Worker Member: Ms Tanham
1. 1 - Withdrawal of leave 2 - Loss of St Stephens Day Pay.
2. This dispute concerns the Withdrawal of Leave and Loss of St. Stephens Day Pay. This 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 2nd December, 2013, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 29 January, 2014.
3 1 The Union believe that reducing the annual leave entitlement is entirely against the spirit and intent of the Public Sector Standardisation of Leave agreement.
2 The Workers in the Gallery continue to work onerous and monotonous shifts.
3 Access to a fair amount of annual leave is crucial to the Workers and to expect a further reduction in their take home pay, above what they have already endured, is unacceptable.
4 1 The Company are seeking to secure agreement with Attendant staff regarding the rationalisation of existing leave and certain additional payments applying to Attendant staff in the National Gallery of Ireland.
2. The Company is required to revisit existing agreements and arrangements with a view to implementing updated working arrangements and practices.
3. Given current financial and operational realities, Gallery Management is now seeking rationalisation within State Industrial norms of the leave and pay anomalies.
The matter before the Court concerns the standardisation of leave in line with state industrial grades and the removal of a premium payment for St. Stephen’s Day for Attendant Staff.
The dispute arose as the Union objected to Management’s proposal to reduce annual leave in line with the “Standardisation of Leave” as covered by the Public Sector Agreement 2010 – 2014 and to its intention to remove a premium payment in place since 1989 which was historically related to the closure of the Gallery on St. Stephen’s Day.
Management sought to abolish “Special Days” arrangement. These arose following negotiations in 2007 on closing time arrangements in the Gallery when it was agreed that an additional three extra special days were implemented in return for staff remaining in the Gallery until 5.30pm (8.30pm on Thursdays). Management submitted that there was no justification for the continuation of these special days which entailed staff receiving additional leave in respect of time already paid for.
Management also sought to abolish “Free Sunday” arrangement. This arose when the roster in place provided that Attendant Staff work four Sundays in five, therefore in order to compensate the staff they were allowed to take an extra Sunday off when they availed of annual leave for at least five consecutive days around a Sunday. This, in effect, has resulted in staff accumulate an additional four days leave per annum. However, Management submitted that a new roster was introduced in 2000 which now provides for staff to be off duty one weekend in every three. Therefore, Management proposed to abolish the Free Sunday arrangement.
The Union objected to Management’s proposals stating that such reductions in annual leave and reduction in the St Stephen’s Day premium payment were excessive. It held that these arrangements were part of the Attendant Staff’s terms and conditions of employment, which had already been reduced in line with two previous public sector agreements.
Having considered the submissions made by both parties the Court is of the view that when account is taken of the prevailing economic climate the financial position of the Gallery and the terms and conditions that apply generally to state industrial workers, there is no justification for the continuation of Special Day arrangements which have been in existence since 2007 and for the Free Sundays' arrangements. Therefore, the Court is of the view that it is necessary to adjust the leave arrangements for Attendant Staff, accordingly the Court recommends in favour of Management’s proposal to removal Special Days arrangements and Free Sundays' arrangements as these arrangements are no longer sustainable. The Court recommends that all other annual leave arrangements should remain in place at this point.
Secondly, the Court recommends the removal of the premium payment for St. Stephen’s Day and recommends that the Attendant Staff should be compensated for the loss in line with the formula agreed under the terms of the Public Sector Agreement 2010-2014.
The Court so Recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27 February 2014______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Clodagh O'Reilly, Court Secretary.