SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IBEC)
- AND -
5 TICKET MACHINE ATTENDANTS
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
1.Cessation of long established custom of working Saturday rest days and public holidays as part of rostered duties.
2. The Union argued that on both Saturdays and Public Holidays the workers duties were being carried out by other members of staff, which is unacceptable.
3. The Union is seeking the immediate reintroduction of Public Holiday and rest day working in line with other categories within Dublin Bus, and compensation to be paid for the public holidays that should have been worked since the changes took place in April.
2. The introduction of new software for the ticket machines in 2019 reduced the incident of ticket machine fault and the increase in spare ticket machines meant there was no operational need for ticket machine attendants to work on Public Holidays.
3. Workers are not entitled to work on a Public Holiday if the company does not require them to do so.
The matter before the Court relates to a group of five ticket machine attendants who maintain that for many years they have, voluntarily and without restriction imposed by the company, worked their rest days and on public holidays when they fell on rostered working days. They maintain that the company has unilaterally ceased rest day working and public holiday working for this group without consultation.
The Company accepts that the group concerned have worked rest days and public holidays on occasion but does not accept the Trade Unions’ assertion they worked all rest days and public holidays over a long number of years. In addition, the Company submitted that interim arrangements as regards overtime and public holiday working have been introduced for all staff of the organisation as a response to the restrictions on its operations imposed by the global health pandemic. Those interim arrangements are set out in a document issued to all Trade Unions following engagement in March 2020. The Company does not require the ticket attendants to work on their rest days and on public holidays in the current environment and consequently such working has ceased as a consequence of the current health related interim arrangements.
The Court notes with concern that the parties were unable to agree the factual basis underpinning the within trade dispute at the hearing. In particular, the parties did not share a view as regards the factual detail as regards the practice in terms of rest day or public holiday working by this group of five ticket attendants in the period since the 1990’s.
The Court notes the assertion of the Company at its hearing that whatever arrangements are currently in place for these five workers as regards rest day and public holiday working are consistent with interim arrangements put in place across the entire company in response to the global health pandemic. The Court does not accept that the policy communicated to all Trade Unions in respect of these matters can be taken to have no application to this group of five trade union members.
The Court considers it to be significant that the parties are not agreed on the nature of historical practice and that current arrangements are asserted to be interim in nature. Having regard to these circumstances therefore, the Court recommends that when current interim arrangements as regards rest day and public holiday working are brought to an end in the company, any matter of dispute which might arise regarding any permanent arrangements which might be proposed to apply to the five ticket attendants in the future should be the subject of engagement through normal agreed procedures up to and including a referral to the Court if necessary.
The Court so recommends.
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Orla Collender, Court Secretary.