INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr McCarthy
1. Claim for outstanding overtime payments.
2. This case concerns a claim for outstanding overtime payments. The Claimant said he is based in Limerick Junction as part of the Training Department and is required to travel to Dublin to provide training. This involves working additional hours which should be paid as overtime. The Employer said as part of a cost containment programme for 2012 – 2016 the Company policy outlines that time-in-lieu should be afforded instead of overtime payments for Executive grades.
On the 23rd March 2015 the Union referred the dispute to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's Recommendation.
A Labour Court hearing took place on the 10th September 2015.
3. 1. The Claimant has worked overtime over a period of two years on 18 occasions.
2. The cost containment programme did not introduce a blanket ban on overtime and there are many staff, including Executive grade, currently receiving overtime.
3. The Claimant is committed to the cost containment plan and has accepted a pay cut over two years and a reduction in the subsistence allowance for Executive grades.
4. 1. In May 2012 with the assistance of the LRC the Company reached agreement with the Trade Unions on a range of cost containment measures necessary to address the serious financial situation the Company was in at that time.
2. Cost savings were to be achieved by a number of measures including allowing time-off-in-lieu to Executive grades instead of paying overtime payments.
3. If this claim was conceded it would without doubt lead to knock-on claims with significant cost for the organisation.
The matter before the Court was brought under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act 1969 and concerns a claim for outstanding overtime payments. The Claimant who is employed as a Safety Related Executive Trainer sought payment of outstanding overtime payment for work he completed in excess of his normal working hours during the period from 14thJanuary 2013 until 18thNovember 2014 inclusive. Therefore he claimed that he was owed the sum of €1,662.12.
The Employer disputed the Claimant’s contention and stated that since 1stJune 2012 the Chief Executive made it clear that the practice of paying overtime to Executive-graded staff must cease with immediate effect. This instruction came about following an agreement entitled “Cost Containment Programme 2012 – 2016” which was an agreement collectively agreed with the affected Trade Unions and it contained a clause to eliminate overtime as a cost-saving measure.
In his instruction to all Managers on 1stJune 2012, the Chief Executive made it clear that days off in lieu should be considered where attendance outside normal hours was unavoidable.
Having considered the submissions of both parties the Court notes that in line with the cost containment agreement, except in exceptional circumstances related to essential operational requirements, overtime payments are no longer being paid to grades comparable to the Claimant’s grade and instead employees are entitled to time-off-in-lieu. The Court notes that the issue in this case arose over the requirement for the Claimant to travel from Limerick Junction to Inchicore in order to carry out a training programme. The Court is of the view that these circumstances do not come within the meaning of essential operational requirements referred to.
Therefore the Court rejects the Union’s claim and recommends that the Claimant should accept time-off-in-lieu arrangements in respect of the 18 occasions referred to in the claim.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
22nd September, 2015Deputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran Roche, Court Secretary.