INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Hayes
Employer Member: Ms Cryan
Worker Member: Ms Tanham
1. Claim for increase in pay
2. This dispute relates to a claim for a pay increase.
- 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 11 May 2016 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990.
A Labour Court hearing took place on the 30 June 2016. The Court, on the 7th July met with each side separately.
This case comes before the Court in complex circumstances. The Company is emerging from a deep recession during which the number of workers employed was reduced, wages were suppressed and labour productivity significantly increased, all to secure the survival of the business. The co-operation of the Trade Unions and of the staff was critical to this process and they now expect to recover some of the ground they lost during those crisis years.
After a period of continual decline passenger numbers are increasing. Fare increases have been applied across the network which, taken together with the growth in passenger numbers, have generated a significant increase in Company revenues.
As a consequence the Unions maintain that the Company has turned the corner and should now be in a position to implement generous wage increases that reflect pay movements in the economy generally and the Public Transport sector in particular.
The Company acknowledges the progress that has been made in recent years in securing its survival but notes that the recovery is in its infancy and argues that it must be allowed to develop further before it could support significant wage increases. Accordingly the Company contends that while a pay increase is justified it must be commensurate with its recent recovery and must address some of the inefficiencies that continue to limit its capacity to compete in an increasingly challenging marketplace.
Against this background the Court considered the submissions of both sides in this dispute. It notes that they are both anxious to find a viable solution to the matters at issue between them. Both sides are anxious to protect the gains made to date while both are equally committed to concluding a reasonable and appropriate agreement on pay to take them through the period ahead.
It is in that context the Court recommends as follows
The Court recommends that the parties agree a three year pay agreement commencing 1 January 2016 and expiring on 31 December 2018. Under the agreement pay should be increased in three phases as follows
1stJanuary 2016 2.75%
1stJanuary 2017 2.75%
1stJanuary 2018 2.75%
The level of pay increases proposed reflects the acknowledged contribution of the workers, by way of cost saving measures, to the Company’s recent recovery.
The Court notes the Company’s willingness, through enhanced productivity, to engage with the Unions with a view to going some way towards meeting their aspirations to realise further improvements in their pay and conditions of employment.
In that context the Court recommends that, with effect from the date of acceptance of this recommendation, each grade of staff enter into discussions with the Company with a view to increasing pay through productivity bargaining appropriate to the grade. The parties should seek to complete this process expeditiously. To that end the Court, in order to optimise the prospects of an early agreement, recommends that talks on productivity measures that are appropriate to each grade begin under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission
As part of those discussions the Unions’ claim for the consolidation of shift into the basic rate of pay for pension purposes should be considered and advanced.
The Court notes the long standing relationship between pay and pensions in the Company. The Court also notes the arrangements agreed with the relevant regulators to bring the scheme’s assets and liabilities into balance. The Court further notes that discussions regarding the schemes are ongoing between the Company and the Unions at Group level
In those circumstances the Court, without compromising the link between pay and pensions, recommends that the parties defer until the end of January 2017 the funding of increases in pay provided for in this recommendation. The Court so recommends with the proviso that the Company undertake to ensure that no employee who retires or the dependents’ of any employee who dies between the date of implementation of these increases and the date on which pay and pensions are again regularised will suffer any disadvantage as a consequence of this temporary accommodation.
The Court further recommends that as part of these talks the parties consider the Unions’ claim for a change to the manner in which the current income continuance scheme is funded .
Reference Back to the Court
Should the parties fail to reach agreement on any of the issues referred to in this Recommendation they should, following discussions at the WRC and in accordance with their collective agreements refer the matters back to the Court for a definitive recommendation.
Duration of the Agreement
The Court has recommended a three year agreement that, provides for pay increases, makes provision for further productivity based increases and optimises the prospects for the resolution of the discussion at CIE Group level on the pensions difficulties faced by both the staff and the Company.
In that context the Court recommends that the parties meet in the latter half of 2018 to agree a pay framework to take effect on the expiry of this agreement. Those discussions should take into account pay developments then prevailing in the economy generally and in the public transport sector in particular.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19 July 2016Deputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Louise Shally, Court Secretary.