Monday 24 July 2017

Harbour company seeks more staff overtime cuts

Anne-Marie Walsh and Edel O'Connell

A STRUGGLING semi-state harbour company is seeking further cuts in staff overtime and allowances.

The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company has asked the Labour Court for new staff cuts because it "remains in a very serious financial situation" despite reducing its workforce from 34 to 19 last year.

The firm said a decision by Stena Line to halt sailings for seven months during the winter is set to have a "huge adverse effect" on its revenue.

Some 70pc of the harbour company's revenue came from Stena Line's HSS fast craft Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead service which has ceased operating during winter months due to the high operational costs.

Redundancies

A cost-cutting plan drawn up last year by the company included redundancies, restructuring of roles, cuts in shift work, overtime, mileage and travel allowances.

SIPTU told the court the redundancies alone meant savings of almost €800,000 for the company and argued that its annual report last year showed its finances had improved.

But the firm told the court it needed further cuts in overtime, and offered to buy out staff's 'travel time' and an 'eating-on-site' allowance.

It also argued that the commercial semi-state staff did not take cuts in their terms and conditions of employment "unlike their civil and public service colleagues".

In a recommendation just issued, the Labour Court said staff should be compensated for the loss of overtime.

However, it said a company buy-out of travel time and the eating-on-site allowance should not take place, although this should be reviewed in January next year.

Irish Independent

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