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Bus Eireann Labour court recommendation

9 February 2013

The labour court has issued its recommendation on the Bus Eireann cost recovery plan.

 

The full recommendation is listed below. The Bus Eireann negotiating team will be meeting shortly to go through the document in full. Members should give reps their feedback on the Labour Court recommendations.

These recommendations are not binding and we will be putting them to a ballot for all members to have their say.

Labour Court recommendation:

CD/13/21 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR20463

(CCC-1255583-12)

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004

SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990

 

 

 

 

PARTIES :

BUS EIREANN

- AND -

SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
TRANSPORT SALARIED STAFFS' ASSOCIATION
NATIONAL BUS & RAIL UNION
ICTU CRAFT GROUP OF UNIONS

 

 

DIVISION :

 

Chairman : Mr Duffy

Employer Member : Ms Cryan

Worker Member : Mr Shanahan

 

SUBJECT:

 

1. Business Recovery Plan.

 

BACKGROUND:

 

2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between the Employer and a joint Union group comprising of SIPTU, NBRU, TSSA and ICTU Craft Group of Unions, in relation to the Company's proposed changes to terms and conditions of employment as set out in its Business Recovery Plan. The dispute relates specifically to the implementation of the proposed Plan which, the Company contends, is crucial in order to ensure its future viability and security of employment. The Unions on behalf of their members reject the Company's proposals and agreement could not be reached between the parties. The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a Conciliation Conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 14th January, 2013, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 16th January, 2013, with a subsequent hearing taking place on the 1st February, 2013. The following is the Recommendation of the Court:


 

RECOMMENDATION :

 

This dispute concerns proposals put forward by the Company to achieve savings in payroll costs against the background of a serious deterioration in its financial and commercial circumstances. Discussions have taken place between the parties on these proposals both directly and at the Labour Relations Commission but agreement has not been reached. In the absence of agreement the Company indicated an intention to unilaterally implement its proposals with effect from 13th January 2013. In response the Unions threatened to take industrial action.

Following a further intervention by the Labour Relations Commission the parties agreed to refer the dispute to the Court for investigation and recommendation. The dispute was referred on 11th January 2013. The Court convened a hearing for 16th January 2013. Having considered the submissions of the parties the Court issued an interim recommendation in the following terms:-

1. The Company should produce comprehensive financial data upon which its proposals are predicated, including the projected savings which could be realised from each of the proposals contained in its submission to the Court.

2. The Unions should nominate a suitable financial assessor to examine the data produced by the Company and report thereon.

3. The Company should provide the Unions’ assessor with full access to its financial accounts (subject to the normal requirements as to confidentiality) and the information upon which its projections are based.

4. Having received the report of their nominated assessor the Unions should formulate such alternative proposals as they think fit in lieu of all or any of the Company’s proposals

The Court indicated that it would reconvene on Friday 1st February 2013 to resume its investigation.

Two independent assessors were nominated by the Unions for the purpose of examining the financial position of the Company. The Court was furnished with a copy of their reports. The Court also received further submissions from the parties.

As part of its investigation the Court met with the parties in side session and jointly.

The Dispute

The Company believes that it needs to reduce its cost base significantly. The measures which form the subject matter of this dispute are intended to achieve savings of some €7.6 million in payroll costs by changing established terms and conditions of employment. This is part of a number of cost reduction measures intended to achieve savings in payroll and non-payroll of some €20 million between 2012 and 2016. The Company believes that the measures proposed are unavoidable if the future viability of the business is to be secured.

The Unions pointed out that the measures, if implemented, would impact to an unacceptable extent on the earnings of their members, most of whom are on low pay. They also pointed out that the terms and conditions which the Company are seeking to change are provided for in collective agreements and are incorporated in the individual employment contracts of their members. They say that their members cooperated with major restructuring of the Company in 2009 on the assurance that this would secure the business into the future. In consequence they are not now prepared accept further reductions in earnings on the same assurances.

Conclusions of the Court

The Court has considered the submissions of the parties and has carefully evaluated all of the financial and other information with which it was provided, including the reports from the independent assessors appointed by the Unions.

The terms and conditions of employment in issue are of long standing and are not out of line with those applying in similar employments, including employments within the CIE Group of Companies. In these circumstances the Court could only recommend retrenchment of the type proposed by the Company if it is plainly and unambiguously necessary in order to protect employment. The Court would also have to be satisfied that the case for so doing is made out on compelling and independently verified evidence and there are no viable alternatives available.

On the evidence before it the Court is satisfied that the Company is experiencing serious financial difficulties which have the potential to undermine its continued viability and put at risk to employment which it provides. The Court is further satisfied that significant reductions in its operating costs, including payroll costs, are essential if these difficulties are to be effectively addressed.

Against that background the Court has come to the conclusion that the type of measures proposed by the Company should be accepted, subject to the modifications contained in this Recommendation. However that should not involve a permanent alteration of existing terms and conditions and the changes proposed should remain in place only for as long as is necessary to meet the objective which they are intended to achieve. Consequently, this Recommendation is made on the basis that its terms, if accepted, should operate as a derogation from the provisions of existing agreement until such time as the Company returns to a reasonable and sustainable level of profitability. When that is achieved the situation should be reviewed. The Court, therefore, recommends that the continuance of the derogation should be reviewed at the end of 2014 and annually thereafter. Any dispute arising from those reviews should be referred back to the Court.

On that basis the Court recommends as follows: -

 

Category – Maintenance Staff

Reduction in Self Certified Sick Leave

The Company propose a reduction in self-certified sick leave from 4 to a maximum of 2 days per annum.

Recommendation

The Court recommends that this proposal be accepted.

Reduction in Overtime Rates

The Company propose to reduce overtime rates from 1.5 times to 1.25 times

Recommendation

The Court recommends that the first two hours of overtime in any day be paid at 1.25 times and at 1.5 times thereafter.

Reduction in Premium Payments

The Company propose that premium payments payable on public holidays /rest days to be reduced as follows: -

· No change to Sunday bonus for employees rostered for normal duty on Sunday (Double time for basic day)

· All overtime on Sundays that is currently paid at double time is to be paid at 1.25 times (OT and rest days worked)

· Double time on Public Holidays for basic day changed to flat time (flat-rate for hours worked +statutory entitlements)

· All overtime on Public Holidays that were paid at double time to be paid at 1.25 times (overtime and rest days worked)

Recommendation

The Court Recommends as follows: -

· No change to Sunday bonus for employees rostered for normal duty on Sunday (Double time for basic day)

· Overtime currently paid at double time on Sundays be paid at 1.5 times

· Public Holidays be paid at 1.25 times plus statutory entitlements for a basic day

· All overtime on Public Holidays that was paid at double time to be paid at 1. 25 times for the first two hours and at 1.5 times thereafter (overtime and rest days worked)

Expenses Payments and Allowances

The Company propose to reduce a range of allowances and expense payments by 33.33% to apply to: -

· Team leader allowance

· Meal allowance

· Higher duty (acting up Foreman)

Recommendation

The Court recommends that these expense payments and allowances by reduced by 20%

Reduce Shift Payments

The Company propose that the shift payment of 1/6th will be reduced to 1/8th and all other shift payments will be reduced pro rata.

If the financial situation improves significantly this will be reviewed in 2014 with a view to restoring the shift rates to current levels

Recommendation

The Court recommends that the shift payment of 1/6th be reduced to 1/7th and all other shift payments be reduced pro rata.

In line with the Company’s proposal if the financial situation improves significantly this will be reviewed in 2014 with a view to restoring the shift rates to current levels

Reduction in Annual Leave

The company propose that annual leave entitlements to be reduced by 3 days for 3 years (2013, 2014, 2015)

Recommendation

The Court recommends that this proposal be accepted

Category – Inspectors

Reduction in Self Certified Sick Leave and Elimination of Averaging of Sick Benefit

The Company propose a reduction in self-certified sick leave from 4 to a maximum of 2 days per annum. It is further proposed that no averaging be included in calculation and removal of sickness bonus

Recommendation

The Court recommends that this proposal be accepted.

Abolition of Income Continuance Scheme

The Company propose that the current income continuance scheme be abolished

Recommendation

The Court notes that there are on-going discussions at group level on reform of the welfare scheme. The Court recommends that this matter be further discussed between the parties in the context of those discussions.

Reduction in Overtime Rates

The Company propose to reduce overtime rates from 1.5 times to 1.25 times

Recommendation

The Court recommends that the first two hours of overtime in any day be paid at 1.25 times and at 1.5 times thereafter.

Reduction in Premium Payments

The Company propose that premium payments payable on public holidays /rest days to be reduced as follows: -

· No change to Sunday bonus for employees rostered for normal duty on Sunday (Double time for basic day)

· All overtime on Sundays that is currently paid at double time is to be paid at 1.25 times (OT and rest days worked)

· Double time on Public Holidays for basic day changed to flat time (flat-rate for hours worked +statutory entitlements)

· All overtime on Public Holidays that were paid at double time to be paid at 1.25 times (overtime and rest days worked)

Recommendation

The Court Recommends as follows: -

· No change to Sunday bonus for employees rostered for normal duty on Sunday (Double time for basic day)

· Overtime currently paid at double time on Sundays be paid at 1.5 times

· Public Holidays be paid at 1.25 times plus statutory entitlements for a basic day

· All overtime on Public Holidays that was paid at double time to be paid at 1. 25 times for the first two hours and at 1.5 times thereafter (overtime and rest days worked)

Expenses Payments and Allowances

The Company propose to reduce a range of allowances and expense payments by 33.33% to apply to: -

· Meal allowance

Recommendation

The Court recommends that these expense payments and allowances by reduced by 20%

Reduce Shift Payments

The Company propose that the shift payment of 1/6th will be reduced to 1/8th and all other shift payments will be reduced pro rata.

If the financial situation improves significantly this will be reviewed in 2014 with a view to restoring the shift rates to current levels

Recommendation

The Court recommends that the shift payment of 1/6th be reduced to 1/7th and all other shift payments be reduced pro rata.

In line with the Company’s proposal if the financial situation improves significantly this will be reviewed in 2014 with a view to restoring the shift rates to current levels

Reduce Rota Allowance

Rota allowance to be reduced from 1/12th to 1/18th

Recommendation

The Court recommends that the rota allowance be reduced from 1/12th to 1/14th

Reduction in Annual Leave

The company propose that annual leave entitlements to be reduced by 3 days for 3 years (2013, 2014, and 2015)

Recommendation

The Court recommends that this proposal be accepted

Category – Clerical / Executive

Reduction in Self Certified Sick Leave

The Company propose a reduction in self-certified sick leave from 4 to a maximum of 2 days per annum.

Recommendation

The Court recommends that this proposal be accepted.

Reduction in Overtime Rates

The Company propose to reduce overtime rates from 1.5 times to 1.25 times

Recommendation

The Court recommends that the first two hours of overtime in any day be paid at 1.25 times and at 1.5 times thereafter.

Reduction in Premium Payments

The Company propose that premium payments on Sunday / rest days be paid at 1.25 times. Rest day and overtime working on Monday to Saturday will be paid at 1.25 times. Public Holiday will be paid at flat rate for hours worked plus statutory entitlements. Overtime working on a public holiday will be paid at 1.25 times

Recommendation

The Court recommends that overtime on Sundays currently paid at double time be paid at 1.5 times. All other overtime including overtime on Public Holidays be paid at 1.25 for the first two hours and 1.5 times thereafter. The premium in respect of a basic day on Public Holidays should be 1.25 times plus statutory entitlements.

Increase in Working Week

The Company propose that the working week for Clerical / Executive staff be increased from 36 hours to 39 hours.

Recommendation

The Court recommends that this proposal be accepted

Expenses Payments and Allowances

The Company propose to reduce a range of allowances and expense payments by 33.33% to apply to: -

· Unit payment /shift payments

· Superior duty / higher duty

· Day and night allowance

· Meal allowance

Recommendation

The Court recommends that these expense payments and allowances by reduced by 20%

Category – Drivers

Reduction in Self Certified Sick Leave and Elimination of Averaging of Sick Benefit

The Company propose a reduction in self-certified sick leave from 4 to a maximum of 2 days per annum. It further proposed that no averaging be included in calculation and removal of sickness bonus

Recommendation

The Court recommends that this proposal be accepted.

Abolition of Income Continuance Scheme

The Company propose that the current income continuance scheme be abolished

Recommendation

The Court notes that there are on-going discussions at group level on reform of the welfare scheme. The Court recommends that this matter be further discussed between the parties in the context of those discussions.

Reduction in Overtime Rates

The Company propose to reduce overtime rates from 1.5 times to 1.25 times

Recommendation

The Court recommends that the first two hours of overtime in any day be paid at 1.25 times and at 1.5 times thereafter.

Reduction in Premium Payments

The Company propose that premium payments payable on public holidays /rest days to be reduced as follows: -

· No change to Sunday bonus for employees rostered for normal duty on Sunday (Double time for basic day)

· All overtime on Sundays that is currently paid at double time is to be paid at 1.25 times (OT and rest days worked)

· Double time on Public Holidays for basic day changed to flat time (flat-rate for hours worked +statutory entitlements)

· All overtime on Public Holidays that were paid at double time to be paid at 1.25 times (overtime and rest days worked)

Recommendation

The Court Recommends as follows: -

· No change to Sunday bonus for employees rostered for normal duty on Sunday (Double time for basic day)

· Overtime currently paid at double time on Sundays be paid at 1.5 times

· Public Holidays be paid at 1.25 times plus statutory entitlements for a basic day

· All overtime on Public Holidays that was paid at double time to be paid at 1. 25 times for the first two hours and at 1.5 times thereafter (overtime and rest days worked)

Expenses Payments and Allowances

The Company propose to reduce a range of allowances and expense payments by 33.33% to apply to: -

· Equalisation allowance

· Meal allowance

· Overnight Allowance

· Outbased Allowance

Recommendation

The Court recommends that these expense payments and allowances by reduced by 20%

Reduced PROT Averaging

The Company propose that the inclusion of averaging rostered overtime in the calculation of annual leave bonus be reduced to 50% of overtime worked

Recommendation

The Court recommends that this proposal be accepted.

Reduce Shift Payments

The Company propose that the shift payment of 1/6th will be reduced to 1/8th and all other shift payments will be reduced pro rata.

If the financial situation improves significantly this will be reviewed in 2014 with a view to restoring the shift rates to current levels

Recommendation

The Court recommends that the shift payment of 1/6th be reduced to 1/7th and all other shift payments be reduced pro rata.

In line with the Company’s proposal if the financial situation improves significantly this will be reviewed in 2014 with a view to restoring the shift rates to current levels

Reduce Rota Allowance

Rota allowance to be reduced from 1/12th to 1/18th

Recommendation

The Court recommends that the rota allowance be reduced from 1/12th to 1/14th

Reduction in Annual Leave

The company propose that annual leave entitlements to be reduced by 3 days for 3 years (2013, 2014, and 2015)

Recommendation

The Court recommends that this proposal be accepted

Implementation

The terms of this Recommendation should take effect in the first pay period following acceptance.

 

 

 

Signed on behalf of the Labour Court

 

 

 

Kevin Duffy

8th February 2013 ______________________

SC Chairman

 

 

 

NOTE

Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be in writing and addressed to Sharon Cahill, Court Secretary.

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