Members will be aware that the above Recommendation issued yesterday the 10th November.
There are a number of issues of clarification required, some of which will be addressed in this Notice, others will be addressed at the forthcoming meetings which will be held Nationwide.
The NBRU has one request to make in advance of these General Meetings:
We request that those of you that have been participating in various social media platforms (more than entitled to so do, of course) across this dispute will make an effort to attend at these meetings, your contributions thus far have been insightful, your presence can only but add to the debate.
First of all, the Unions entered this dispute on the basis of a 3.75% pay rise, similar to that achieved by colleagues in Dublin Bus and indeed the Luas before that.
There appears to be some confusion to what it is that our Dublin Bus colleagues actually received, and more to the point for what did they receive it for?
The undeniable fact is that Dublin Bus staff are now doing more for their wage then they had been doing previous to their pay deal, are they happy with that situation? Quite a lot of them are certainly not.
The reality is that the ‘extra’ they achieved after their dispute has now morphed into more onerous rosters, in other words, they are expected to be more productive, for that they received an extra 1%.
There are a number of grades in Irish Rail that can garner significantly more than 1% if they choose to embrace the productivity itemised in the Labour Court Recommendation, e.g. the Loco/Dart Drivers have previously been in talks at which figures of 6/7% were being bandied about, those talks failed because some of the detail was deemed to be unsatisfactory.
There does appear to be some confusion in relation to what it is the Court says on pay, the Q & A below will hopefully unravel some of this:
Ø Q. There are three lists of items on the Labour Court Recommendation, what is the relationship between the 7.5% and those lists?
Ø A. The connection is exclusive to the first list, i.e. there is an expectation that discussions on the five items will be completed by the 28th February 2018, before implementation.
Ø Q. Do we know what these items entail?
Ø A. We know what the headings mean, the detail has to worked out and agreed, e.g. Dublin Bus has an attendance control programme, (ACP). It is anticipated that that we will replicate this (details will be supplied separately)
The NBRU has 20 years experience with it in Dublin Bus and virtually all our Representatives would say a scheme of this nature offers protection
The Vehicle management system will concern some members, but it is already in operation across ESB, An Post, County Councils etc. Union colleagues in those Companies have informed us that the systems are not designed to manage or discipline staff, we will be insisting on the same consideration.
Ø Q. What about the acceptance of New Technology?
Ø A. Whether we like or not, this clause is inserted every pay agreement going back over the last thirty years.
Ø Q. What about the performance management system?
Ø A. Again, we will need more detail on this one, but we have made it abundantly clear to the Company, through both the WRC and the Labour Court that we will not entertain any discipline clause in such a system.
Ø Q. What is this about the Railway Safety Act and compliance with medical assessments?
Ø A. The Railway Safety Act 2005 compels Safety Critical staff to attend at periodic medicals (it is now the law), it has applied to Loco/Dart Drivers for decades.
Ø Q. But don’t they have an Income Protection Scheme?
Ø A. Yes, but we have informed the Company that we will have to have an agreed Income Protection Scheme in place before implementation of these compulsory medicals, we already have a Labour Court Recommendation (LCR21213) which says that Irish Rail will contribute 30% to the cost of such a scheme.
We envisage that the details and premium cost will be available for distribution shortly.
Ø Q. Assuming that the foregoing is understood, what about the eleven items on the ‘second’ list?
Ø A. Those items are, in the main, productivity related and will require detailed discussion and there will be the possibility of extra payments (enhanced earnings) emanating from these discussions, we’ve already given the example of Loco/Dart Drivers above.
Ø Q. What about the talk of monthly pay?
Ø A. We have already ruled out the notion of Staff on weekly pay going to monthly pay, though we do understand that there will be discussion on Cash pay, email wage slips etc.
Ø Q. What about the final list?
Ø A. The Labour Court did not Recommend on those items, however the NBRU will vehemently challenge the notion of different conditions/rates of pay for New Entrants (we will not allow them to be treated similarly to teachers/nurses)
Ø Q. What about the other items?
Ø A. There is nothing stopping either the Company, or for that matter, the Unions from putting something forward items for discussion, there is absolutely no requirement to agree on these items in the Labour Court Recommendation.
Ø Q. What about the clause on Industrial Peace?
Ø A. Again, one of those clauses that regularly appears in pay agreements, however, the NBRU will retain the right to engage in Industrial Action (as per 1990 Industrial Relations Act) if our members should decide that it is necessary.
Ø Q. What’s this about a Forum?
Ø A. The NBRU have long been campaigning for a Public Transport Forum at which all issues associated with the Policy and Funding of our Industry can be discussed, in other words, the Workers will have a voice, a direct influence on the future of Public Transport.
Ø Q. What about the issues raised by the NBRU about Contracts with the NTA having little or no provision for pay?
Ø A. Again, we would hope to factor this issue into the discussions at the Public Transport Forum, the Courts language here will assist:
‘…such clarity can support effective planning which takes account of all factors which have the potential to impinge on a stable industrial relations climate in this Company and the sector generally’
The NBRU will shortly issue notification on the schedule of meetings across the Rail Network.
Issued by the NBRU
Tom Darby House
11th November 2017