SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
KN NETWORK SERVICES LTD
(REPRESENTED BY C&H JEFFERSON SOLICITORS)
- AND -
COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Mr Haugh
Employer Member: Ms Doyle
Worker Member: Ms O'Donnell
1. The payment of a daily subsistence payment.
2. This dispute relates to the payment of a daily subsistence payment.
The Union said that other Union members employed with a sister company are in receipt of the daily subsistence payment.
The Employer said the sister company is a separate legal entity acquired in 2013 and the subsistence allowance paid to them is a matter of custom and practice.
- This dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a Conciliation Conference under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 1st September 2016 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990.
A Labour Court hearing took place on the 1stNovember 2016.
3. 1. The Workers may be away from their base for 8 – 10 hours daily, with no canteen facilities.
2. The Workers in the sister company who do the same role can claim a daily subsistence rate.
3. The Employer is in a strong financial position and should treat all its employee in a fair and just manner.
4. 1. Technicians and Front Line managers in the Company enjoy more favourable terms and conditions of employment than those in the sister company.
2. The Company is locked in to 3 year contract at fixed rates.
3. The cost to the Company would be approximately €250,000. A cost increase of this level could not be absorbed by the business, and if introduced, would result in the Company having to undertake a critical review of its cost base.
Background to the Dispute
The Union is seeking the introduction of a daily subsistence payment for its members employed by the Respondent as Technicians and Front Line Managers. The Respondent is a limited company and part of the KN Group. A sister company in the Group – KNIS – does pay a day subsistence/meal allowance to comparable employees.
The Parties’ Positions
The Union accepts that its claim is a comparator claim based on the fact that other of its members employed in a related company (KNIS) working in the telecoms external environment (i.e. performing telephone and broadband installations etc.) are in receipt of a €10.00 per day subsistence payment. The Union seeks to substantiate its claim also by reference to the reported turnover and profits of a holding company in the KNN Group – KN Network Services Holding Limited. However, in the course of the hearing, the Union acknowledged that the comparators’ other terms and conditions were less favourable than the complainant group.
The Company submits that the claim is unjustified on a number of grounds:
•The employees’ contracts make no provision for any such payment;
•The subsistence payment – while paid to certain KNIS employees – Is not paid generally throughout the KN Group;
•The Company does pay for accommodation costs and grants a meal allowance to its employees who are required to work away from home;
•The cost of introducing such a subsistence payment for its entire external workforce would be prohibitive.
Having considered the Parties’ written and oral submissions the Court is of the view that the claim is not well-founded and fails.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
1st December, 2016Deputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran Roche, Court Secretary.