WRC PAY PROPOSAL
So, what’s the low down with this Proposal?
OK, Firstly some Context, i.e. Background.
All of the Unions, NBRU, SIPTU, TSSA, TEEU & UNITE joined together to lodge a Flat, no Strings Attached Pay Rise for all Dublin Bus Workers back in April of this year.
This joint Union claim did not dilute or set aside any of the claims advanced by individual Trade Unions prior to the recent WRC Discussions, it was however felt that the most advantageous way of achieving a long overdue Pay Rise for all Staff would be to join together under one overarching umbrella.
So how does the WRC Process work?
The facilitators work from room to room with Unions and Company.
Essentially the Company (Dublin Bus) would start off with a ‘shopping list’ of what they say they require to bring back to its paymasters to be able, in its words to up offer on pay.
What did Dublin Bus want?
They started off by attempting to put some productivity items on agenda, (this despite the commitment to drop Productivity preconditions before talks).
How did that go?
Union officials refused to entertain this notion, even before it got onto the page.
Keep going, explain how ‘negotiating’ system works?
Well, the Company came into the room where all Trade Union Representatives were gathered and set out its stall on what it felt it could do to improve on pay.
Both sides then split into separate rooms in order to allow for ‘side sessions’ between Senior Reps and Management, the WRC facilitating the exchanges.
What about the rest of the representatives?
They would remain in separate rooms and the Senior Reps would communicate what was happening with negotiations on a time interval basis (usually every hour or so) depending on what was on paper which required to be considered.
Sounds very tedious and boring?
That’s is unfortunately how it works, though it has to be said that this system at least allows for all Staff representatives to vet all the proposals as they emanate.
What about the final proposal, was that scrutinised by the reps?
Scrutinised? It was ripped apart.
Each Trade Union went to separate rooms in order to work through all the versions of the proposal throughout the two days.
And the final proposal?
That obviously took the most time to assess, but the Final Proposal was vetted and approved by all of the Trade Unions and its Representatives.
What would have happened if one Union had not approved the Final Proposal?
It, the WRC Proposal would not be before the Dublin Bus Staff for Consideration.
But I’m hearing rumours that some reps who were at the WRC did not ‘agree’ with Proposal and are even encouraging staff to reject it?
Well, all we can say about that, is that people are elected to represent their fellow workers at these types of negotiations, it is not always easy to be that person, and trying to deliver what all members want is not always possible.
But you said that all Trade Union Representatives saw and approved the Final Proposal?
Well again, we have to be honest here and just reflect on what the WRC said in the proposal, they said ‘that all parties accept that the Contents of the proposal was the best possible outcome that could be achieved in the current circumstances’.
So what about these rumours about reps saying different?
Look, if it was one of us presented with such a scenario we would ask something like the following:
‘So (insert name), tell me, you don’t agree with the Proposal and you are suggesting that I vote against it?
Let us assume the answer is ‘Yes’
‘Okay; let’s just say I do as you ask, can you explain for me what your ‘Plan B’ is to get us a better deal here?
‘Also can you tell me what it will cost me in terms of more Work Stoppages should I decide to vote against’?
‘Also would you accept that the lads in the LUAS did something similar to what you are suggesting and ended up on Six days more strikes, and more importantly accepting a lesser offer than the one which they were originally offered’?
We would respectfully suggest that such a line of questioning would (to avoid embarrassment) be conducted on a one to one away from other staff.
Now, the proposal itself:
Some of the issues contained in the WRC Proposal are proving difficult for people to understand, to be honest some of them presented difficulties for us as Senior Representatives, what we have tried to achieve through the following is as honest and assessment as we feel we can lay out here. We did consult with colleagues in Bus Eireann and Irish Rail to assess their experiences of some of the issues.
3 75% per year is being widely commented upon by those in the media and other Trade Unions across society as being one which will set the standard for other workers to aspire towards.
If the deal is accepted Dublin Bus workers will receive the following:
• 3.75% from 1st January 2016
• 3.75% from 1st January 2017
• 3.75% from 1st January 2018
• Any backdated money will be on total gross earnings inclusive of shift, rest-days, overtime and bank holidays.
Public commentators are now saying that we may be responsible for forcing a rethink on the Landsdowne Road Agreement which pertains to all Public Sector Workers across all Frontline Services, Nurses, Teachers, Ambulance, Fire Services, and Prison Officers etc. An Garda being the first to put themselves out there to seek something akin to our offer.
The Landsdowne agreement allows for the following increases:
• 1st January – The pension levy threshold (the salary amount above which the levy is payable) increased to €26,083 (from the previous threshold of €15,000).
• Annualised salaries up to €24,000 increased by 2.5% through a partial reversal of the 2010 public service pay cut.
• Annualised salaries between €24,001 and €31,000 increased by 1% via the same mechanism.
• The combination of these 2016 measures will improve all public service full time incomes by around €1,000 a year.
• 1st January – The pension levy threshold increases to €28,750.
• 1st September – Annualised salaries up to €65,000 increase by €1,000 a year.
• Restoration of the temporary pay reductions for staff earning more than €65,000, which were negotiated as part of the Haddington Road Agreement, will begin on 1st April 2017 and be completed on 1st January 2018.
It might do no harm to reflect on the Landsdowne Road Agreement here:
It is designed to Restore some of the pay that was taken from these workers through the Emergency Powers contained in FEMPI, this effectively meant that the Government was able to plunder the wages and pension funds of hundreds and thousands of workers across society.
1. Lean Management.
Lean Management is, in the words of one of our Rail Rep’s a mechanism which allows for a change in how records are kept, changes in procurement procedures etc, more importantly in the ten years it has operated in Irish Rail it has had no negative impact on Train Drivers, it does not involve changes to terms and conditions. Aside from this we were able to insist that a clause protecting current agreements on Terms and Conditions along with no Job Cuts being inserted.
Will some manager try to use this clause to change things?
Possible, but let us make one strong statement here. ALL CURRENT AGREEMENTS REMAIN IN PLACE. THEY WILL NOT CHANGE FOR OUR MEMBERS AS PART of ANY PART OF THIS WRC DEAL.
2. Drugs and Alcohol.
Dublin Bus have been chasing this one for a long time, we are aware that Legislation may, sometime in the future force it on Staff in any case. Our job between is to ensure that protections are built in to the Policy, we will have a window of three months to agree a Code of Practice here, again Irish Rail Staff will assist us on this one because under law any safety critical employee in Irish Rail are subjected to random testing.
3. First Care.
Again we received some help from our Bus Eireann colleagues here, they tell us that have been able to agree a dilution of the original proposal (same as Dublin Bus) to one which just now require a staff member to ring in with Name, Staff Number, Location and length of time envisaged for illness, e.g. self-cert or longer absence, the next call (similar to current arrangement) is to indicate a return to work or possibly extending illness duration.
There is absolutely no change to the CIE welfare scheme, self-certification agreement or GP scheme.
This section basically reaffirms our current agreements on Schedules which was agreed in 2013, it does however contain two subtle changes, one being that the non-participation in discussions on Schedules will be a de-facto acceptance that the Schedule (Bill) is okay and can be implemented in week six.
One other change reduces the number of reps from three to two.
The idea here we are told is to ensure that Schedules (Bills) are turned around within the designated timescale.
Dublin Bus tell us that they are being fined and having penalties imposed by the NTA as a result of not getting Schedules in on time.
The issue of Pensions has been problematic for a considerable period of time, this issue will require intensive discussions with the CIE Group, it involves all Grades across the three Companies, it should be noted that the Regular Wages (Drivers and Maintenance Operatives) is in relatively good health compared to the 1951 Scheme.
It is the intention of all Unions to positively address the Regular Wages Scheme immediately discussions begin on the area of Pensions.
There are three separate and distinct requests from the Unions on Pensions, namely Incorporate Shift Pay into Basic Pay with a view to ultimately improving the final Pension on retirement.
There are two other separate Pension items on Death in Service and Spouse Partner Pension, both of these are included in the NBRU Claim for Parity between Bus and Tram Drivers, more of which in the next section.
The NBRU is committed to joining with colleagues (similar to this present Pay Claim) and achieving a significant improvement on Pension entitlements.
6. This Section is where we in the NBRU, hopefully with the support of Trade Union colleagues will ultimately achieve parity with Luas Drivers across a Range of Terms and Conditions.
The achievement of getting Dublin Bus to agree a Job Evaluation cannot or should be underestimated, getting this evaluation completed in a relatively short time frame will allow us to establish the actual pay gap once and for all.
It is our contention that having allowed for all Pay Rises (Dublin Bus and Luas) that the Pay Gap will effectively amount to in and around 6% plus.
This section dictates that the results of the Evaluation Process will be considered by all Relevant Stakeholders, it will be at this point that our campaign for Parity will ramp up to the point where we will demand that the Stakeholders, inclusive of the Department and Dublin Bus will require to close the gap between Dublin Bus Drivers and Tram Drivers.
These three sections deal with how each party (Dublin Bus and Trade Unions) should conduct business in the period from possible acceptance to the conclusion of the WRC Pay Proposals, i.e. December 2018.
No further cost increasing claims (aside from those covered by the Proposal) can be lodged by the Unions, the Company cannot introduce anything that will impact on the Terms and Conditions of any group of employees.
We feel we have to be clear on the contents of Sections 7, 8, & 9.
THERE IS NO BAN ON THE UNIONS CONDUCTING A BALLOT FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION.
THERE is No BAN ON THE TRADE UNIONS TAKING STRIKE ACTION SHOULD IT BE REQUIRED.
The NBRU has never, or would ever continence such a course of Action as to agree a NO STRIKE CLAUSE.
All we ask is that all Dublin Bus Staff will fully CONSIDER the WRC Proposals on Pay.
This is NOT a PRODUCTIVITY PROPOSAL.
The NBRU along with the other Four Representative Trade Unions Believe that this Proposal on Pay is the utmost that can be achieved at this Time.
It is however up to each individual to make your own decision with regard to your Informed View of the Proposal.