SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
DUBLIN AIRPORT AUTHORITY
- AND -
133 CRAFT WORKERS
(REPRESENTED BY CONNECT
1.New Ways Of Working And Unilateral Reduction In Hours And Pay To 60%
The matter was referred to the Labour Court and a hearing took place on 19 March 2021.
The Union had concerns that some of what they considered to be key building blocks for the new structure being considered under the Targeting Operating Model was a feature of the New Ways of Working. The team model that was being put forward by management as part of NWOW required a re-alignment of rosters within the group. Currently the Workers worked a variety of rosters and changes to the rosters would impact not only on them but also on their families. The Unions had sought that there could be flexibility to tweak the rosters at local level. The second issue relating to rosters is that the change would cause anomalies as workers on the team would have different terms of employment including the number of hours they worked. The Union felt this was an issue that could have been addressed in the Target Operating Model talks which unfortunately were now stalled. The second issue was the role of the technician on the team and management’s requirement that the technician would operate as a multi skilled member of the team in Terminal One. The Unions’ concerns stemmed from the existence of anomalies in the workers’ terms and conditions and the possible disgruntlement that could arise on the teams as a result of this. The Union felt that while the opportunity to address these anomalies may have existed in the Target Operating Model discussions, management‘s current proposals did not address these concerns. While the Union accepted that during the WRC conciliation there had been some discussion around the provision of a ‘Chairman’s Note’ in respect of the Target Operating Model talks the proposed contents of that note had not been teased out. The Union also had concerns in respect of management’s proposal on car park teams and the MIS department. The Union submitted that there was no issue with clean as you go and that in terms of new technology, they felt that an engagement around protocols applying to the use of any new technology and assurances in respect of how information acquired would be used, should resolve any concerns they had.
Unite submitted that the following issues were of particular concern to them. It was the Union’s understanding that the Employer had indicated a minimum number for core trades. It was felt that the number was 116 but may have been slightly higher, with 22 being the number for fitters and 10 the number for plumbers. The Union were seeking that the Employer would confirm these numbers and confirm that the current ratios within the craft groups would be maintained. Unite were also seeking confirmation from management that rosters could be discussed and tweaked locally. In respect of the Chairman’s note, Unite were looking for confirmation that discussions on the alignment or harmonisation of terms and conditions would take place and a date for the conclusion of that process to be included. It was Unite’s understanding that management did not have an issue with these three issues. Unite also raised issues in respect of baggage handling, the wording of the overarching document and the timeframe for the commencement of future pay talks.
The Court recommends that in order for discussions between these parties to progress in a positive manner the Employer should put in train the process to return this cohort of Workers’ hours and pay to the same as their colleagues. The Court is aware from its discussion with the Employer and has flagged to the Unions that because it’s a fortnightly payroll that is prepared in advance the process will take four to six weeks. The Court notes that there is no real dispute between the parties in respect of new technology and clean as you go. In respect of the issues pertaining to the carpark and MIS Department the Court did not have any detailed engagement with the parties on these issues but would expect that these should be capable of being resolved by the parties if the other issues are resolved. In respect of Unite’s position that the date for future pay talks should be brought back into 2021 this is not an issue the Court believes it should address as part of this process. In respect of the issues arising from the management’s proposal to create teams that would follow the work across the campus such as technicians working as multiskilled members of the team in Terminal 1, alignment of Rosters within the group, minimum number and ratio of craft workers and the ‘Chairs letter’ in respect of harmonisation in the future, the Court believes the parties would benefit from further intensive talks on these issues. To that end that Court recommends as follows:
The Court recommends that the Employer puts in train the process to restore the Worker’s pay and hours. That over a four-week period commencing no later than Monday 29th March 2021 the parties with the assistance of a representative from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions have intensive discussions with a view to reaching a solution to the issues set out in the paragraphs above, that will take account of the Unions’ concerns as reflected by the Court in the early paragraphs of this recommendation. At the end of the four-week period any unresolved issues should be referred back to this Division of the Labour Court for a final determination of them.
The Court so recommends.
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Noel Jordan, Court Secretary.