Wednesday 18 October 2017

Council workers win fight for 'eat on site' payment

The workers have been awarded an 'eating on site' allowance. Photo: 'Three Hundred Sandwiches'
The workers have been awarded an 'eating on site' allowance. Photo: 'Three Hundred Sandwiches'

Gordon Deegan

A GROUP of council workers have claimed victory over a dispute with Dublin City Council over their right to receive an 'eating on site' allowance.

Dublin City Council had refused to pay the workers the allowance worth €450 claiming that they were not entitled to it.

But the Labour Court has recommended it should be paid.

At the hearing, the council argued that a group of leisure centre workers shouldn't qualify for the payment because they have adequate facilities.

However, on behalf of its members, IMPACT argued that the eating on site allowance has been paid for over 35 years to council workers and they should be paid it.

The Labour Court ruled that "on a strict interpretation" of the agreement it could be argued that the allowance does not apply in this case. However, it stated the agreement was not applied "with the same degree of stricture" to the vast majority of similarly graded staff.

The Labour Court stated that "it is acknowledged that of 185 similarly graded staff, 154 are in receipt of the allowance".

As a result, the Court said the position taken by the council in this circumstance was "unsustainable" and recommended that the allowance be paid from November 29 last.

Lunch

Now, providing that the City Council will abide by the recommendation, the six workers represented by IMPACT stand to receive between €400 to €450 each as the allowance is set at €9.52 per week.

A spokesman for IMPACT said yesterday the decision was welcome.

The spokesman said that he understands that around 1,500 general operatives at Dublin City Council receive the eating on site allowance and it was first introduced in 1979 at the City Council.

He said that it was made originally paid to waterworks personnel. He explained: "These were workers who, because of the nature and location of their work, were unable to go to an indoor lunch facility, or make a purchase of food near their site location."

Chief executive of small and medium sized business group, ISME, Mark Fielding said yesterday that workers in the private sector "will have a fit" when they see such allowances being paid. He said: "Workers in the private sector will be wondering why workers in the public sector should get an allowance on the basis of where or how they eat their lunch.

Dublin City Council did not respond to a request for comment.

Irish Independent

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