Saturday 18 November 2017

Dublin City Council's cheque cashing time set to end

Staff are to lose time allotted to 'cashing cheques'
Staff are to lose time allotted to 'cashing cheques'
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Around 4,000 staff at Dublin City Council are set to have time added to their working week.

Outdoor staff at Ireland's largest local authority had been allowed to take an hour of their week to cash cheques - even though all staff were being paid electronically. Indoor staff were getting 15 minutes a week. The council, led by chief executive Owen Keegan, sought to end the practice but were met with objections from the Impact trade union, who referred the matter to the Labour Court.

The council said the practice was unnecessary because of the wide range of banking services available, and that cheque cashing time had been withdrawn across other areas of the public service. This week the Labour Court said that "there is no longer any justification for the continuance of this practice and it should be discontinued".

"It is clear that there have been significant and material changes in banking services since bank time was first introduced. In these circumstances, it is not unreasonable for the council to seek the cessation of that concession."

The court said cheque cashing time should be discontinued from the first week in May. It argued that ending the practice doesn't mean working hours will be extended.

"All parties accept that the original intention was that bank time would be taken during working hours.

"Consequently, its elimination could not be fairly characterised as involving an extension of the working week for those affected by the proposal.

"The parties should engage in discussions in relation to the preferred mode of restoring the working time involved".

Impact had argued that cheque cashing time had become an established condition of the workers' employment.

After the ruling, Peter Nolan, Impact's national secretary for local government, said Dublin City Council "got the hour back without any dispute or disruption. This simply would not have happened without the Croke Park/Haddington Road agreements. This demonstrates the benefit of the Labour Court having the final say".

Mr Keegan came to prominence last summer during the row over country singer Garth Brooks' plan to hold five concerts on five consecutive nights at Croke Park.

The council only granted permission for concerts on three consecutive nights.

"Given that Croke Park is situated in a heavily populated residential area, five shows in a row following on from the three concerts already held there this year is considered an over-intensification of use of the stadium for the holding of special events/concerts," it said.

Mr Keegan later told TDs that "genuine concerns of local residents...cannot and should not be disregarded notwithstanding the short-term commercial or economic arguments for doing so".

Sunday Indo Business

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