ADJUDICATION OFFICER RECOMMENDATION
Adjudication Reference: ADJ-00004448
Transport Service Industry
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: 01/03/2017Procedure:
In accordance with Section 41 of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 and/or Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Acts 1969 following the referral of the complaint(s)/dispute(s) to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaint(s)/dispute(s) and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaint(s)/dispute(s).
The claimant submitted that the respondent has unilaterally imposed non- agreed rates of pay outside of their collective agreement with SIPTU. She is seeking to have the appropriate grade applied to her with retrospection to the date of breach of the collective agreement. It was submitted by the union that increased trading by the company in the last 2 years has resulted in significant additional workloads for the claimant and her colleagues. The union contended that the claimant and her colleagues have been flexible and adaptable in responding to the increasing demands of the company taking on a diverse range of duties across the spectrum including catering, security, firefighting , ramp functions and others.
A collective agreement was reached between the company and SIPTU in 2004 – the agreement addressed the extension of operational hours and the grading scales as well as premium payments. The union asserted that despite this agreement, additional work was imposed on staff without applying the agreed rates under the collective agreement. It was advanced that the role and responsibilities of the claimant were equal in value to that undertaken by identifiable comparators and that the persistence of this inequity was unfair to the claimant. It was highlighted that the matter had already been the subject of consideration by the Labour Court in LCR 21157.
The respondent rejected the claim and submitted that the company was operating at a significant loss and the company continued to rely on government subsidies. The company declared inability to pay social partnership increases between 2008- 2009 – arising from LRC intervention, a report was issued by Mr.BA which supported the airport’s position of inability to pay. The respondent set out the ensuing exchanges between the parties up to 2012 when it was submitted a jointly funded review confirmed the airport’s position of inability to pay – this was rejected by the union. It was submitted that the dispute was considered by the Labour Court who upheld the findings of the report.
The respondent contended that custom and practise within the company had been:
“In the event of the temporary transfer of an individual to a lower paid job, there will be no reduction of basic pay rate ……. In the event of a temporary transfer of an individual to a higher paid job , the higher rate is paid for as long as the person is performing the new role”.
It was accepted by both parties that anomalies in the interpretation of the foregoing provisions and the 2004 collective agreement had arisen and were at the core of the current dispute – it was acknowledged that there was a perception amongst the staff of persistent inequities in grading and premium pay arrangements.
Summary of Complainant’s Case:
The claimant commenced employment in March 2012, on a temporary part time contract as a Security Officer Crew Level 1. Upon commencement she was paid the sum of €10.01 per hour which is outside the agreed rates for Security Officer Grade 2 Increment 1 i.e. €11.50 per hour.
Summary of Respondent’s Case:
All employees are entitled to start on the incremental scale after one year’s continuous service within their Dept. New starters that have joined and who are not fully trained and experienced have one year to enhance their capabilities before moving on to the incremental scale. This is to ensure that there is a fair and structured way to the pay structure within the company – avoiding the situation where two people are both on the same pay rate but with different skills and experience. The union pay agreement is also there to reward staff members for length of service.
Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Acts, 1969 requires that I make a recommendation in relation to the dispute.
I have reviewed the evidence presented at the hearings and note that there are ongoing direct discussions on the matter of grading and premium payments. I note these matters are of collective concern and will have to be processed through the Labour Court Machinery if needs be. I accept the union’s contention that there has been an inordinate delay in the processing of the claimant’s grievance and I am accordingly recommending in full and final settlement of her grievance that she be paid a compensatory sum of €500 for the distress arising from these delays. I recommend that payment be made within 4 weeks of today’s date. This recommendation is unique to the circumstances of this dispute and cannot be relied upon in any other forum.
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Emer O'Shea