ADJUDICATION OFFICER DECISION
Adjudication Decision Reference: ADJ-00001895
Complaint for Resolution:
Complaint/Dispute Reference No.
Date of Receipt
Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969
Date of Adjudication Hearing: 16/06/2016
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: John Walsh
In accordance with Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 under Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act 1946 following the referral of the complaint ) to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaint and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaint.
Attendance at Hearing:
A Local Authority
The Complainant was employed with the Respondent since 1988. He is currently employed as a General Service Supervisor and up until June 2014 he was employed as Town Forman. Following the abolition of the Town Council he was re-assigned with his existing terms and conditions. Although his existing rate of pay is higher that that of General Services Supervisor he retains the higher rate of pay on a “Red-Circled” basis. The Complainant is seeking the payment of an allowance which is payable to existing General Service Supervisors of the Respondent of 5 hours overtime per week. This is a historic allowance which was paid to staff at GSS level for completion of paper work associated with the role. The Respondent has refused to pay him this allowance as he is considered a new beneficiary of the allowance and was excluded from payment on taking up his new role in 2014. He filed a complaint with the Workplace Relations Commission on the 15th of February 2016.
The complainant has been employed with the Council for the past 27 years. He currently holds the position of Craft/Foreman with the Respondent. The issue in dispute between the parties stems from the abolition of the Town Council from the 1st of June 2014 where all Town Council staff was subsumed into the local authority. There was discussion between the parties regarding the role that the Complainant would move to. In March 2014, a meeting took place between the Respondent and the Complainant advising him of the changes. He was advised that he would stay on his current pay scale and allowances. Prior to the Complainant commencing his employment with the local authority in June 2014, he was asked to look after the water supply in the area. This was the role he was previously carrying out. However, in January 2015, the Complainant was not paid the overtime allowance that he previously received. The authority advised him that they were making this decision because he was now in a new role and the allowance should not apply. This is despite the fact that he is still carrying out administrative duties in filling out time sheets. Other staff with the authority receive this payment and the Complainant is being treated less favourably than his colleagues.
In 2010, all public sector bodies were required under instruction by the department to undertake a review of all allowances paid to staff. Significant medium term savings were to be achieved by the removing of allowances and precluding the payment of unjustified allowances to new beneficiaries. Allowances could only continue to be paid where it was demonstrated by business case that sufficient value was achieved by the employer. Where there was no justification or underlying business case for the retention of these allowances, they were to be abolished. In certain circumstances, other allowances could be maintained on the basis of existing holders; however they were to be abolished for new beneficiaries.
Circular El 6-2012 withdrew sanction to pay certain allowances to new beneficiaries with effect from 1st of January 2012, pending the outcome of a public service review of allowances and premium payments. In the main, changes to allowances and premia pay will be confined to new beneficiaries (that is, a new public servant or a current public servant not currently in receipt of that allowance or premium payment). The Complainant and his union are well aware that the allowance has been red-circled for existing staff and have chosen to pursue this claim even though the complainant is in benefit of a Red-Circle Agreement in respect of his own salary and fully understands the basis and nature of such an agreement
The adjudicator is required to consider this claim having regard to the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014. Clause 1.27 of the Agreement precludes trade unions from making or processing cost increasing claims during the currency of the agreement. This is a cost increasing claim and cannot be conceded during the currency of the agreement.
Based on the evidence presented at the hearing, I find as follows:
The Complainant is still carrying out the same duties that he was employed to do as town foreman and I therefore fail to see how he can be categorised as a new beneficiary and be excluded from the payment that he was previously receiving. I do accept that he is being now paid at a higher rate of pay than that of a General Services Supervisor. Taking all the circumstances of this case into account, I find that he should be paid three hours per week in relation to administrative duties.
Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 requires that I make a decision in relation to the complaint in accordance with the relevant redress provisions under Schedule 6 of that Act.
Based on the evidence presented by both parties, I find that the complaint is well-founded in part. I recommend that the Respondent pay to the Complainant 3 hours overtime per week for the completion of paper work associated with his role.
Dated:3rd January 2017