Business Irish

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Siptu agrees to exploratory DAA talks at WRC

Airport union demanding 19pc pay rises without offsetting measures, writes Fearghal O'Connor

A proposed pay and productivity agreement called Better Together collapsed last year after it was rejected by Siptu members. Mandate and Impact staff have since agreed deals with management but there has been no resolution with Siptu, the biggest union. Photo: Stock Image
A proposed pay and productivity agreement called Better Together collapsed last year after it was rejected by Siptu members. Mandate and Impact staff have since agreed deals with management but there has been no resolution with Siptu, the biggest union. Photo: Stock Image

Fearghal O'Connor

Trade union Siptu has agreed to attend exploratory talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in a bid to break an impasse over pay and profit sharing at Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).

The agreement to enter talks comes following warnings from the union, reported by this newspaper last week, that the industrial relations environment at DAA is "broken" as it attempts to win a more than 19pc cumulative pay rise and profit share for its members.

"We are agreeable to attend exploratory talks to agree a modality on the basis of the suggestion made by the Commission when we last met on February 7," Siptu's aviation sector organiser Neil McGowan wrote in a letter sent to the WRC last Tuesday. "Namely, that a percentage increase will be agreed to apply to all SIPTU members in the DAA as stage one of a process. These increases will be without offsetting measures."

A proposed pay and productivity agreement called Better Together collapsed last year after it was rejected by Siptu members. Mandate and Impact staff have since agreed deals with management but there has been no resolution with Siptu, the biggest union.

Following the rejection of the previous proposals, Siptu lodged a pay claim in June 2017 for 6pc per annum increase in basic pay and associated allowances for each year for three years effective from July 2016. The union is also seeking a profit share that it said had been previously agreed as part of an earlier cost recovery programme.

In a notice to its members at Dublin and Cork airports, the union said it had responded to the WRC "outlining our willingness to engage on the basis of our willingness to agree percentage increases being paid to our members without offsetting measures and an agreed process and agenda for stage two."

The union told its members that it had requested the earliest possible date for talks and that it was "acutely aware of the frustration at the duration of the process and we are taking every step to ensure that we are moving as efficiently as possible towards a favourable outcome for our members."

The Better Together agreement included a range of productivity measures, but Siptu is insisting that these can only be discussed in second stage talks once a pay deal has been agreed.

This has led to a series of smaller disputes between management and trade union officials, including over contract hours and a proposed realignment of the staff holiday year that Siptu has rejected because it said it was part of the rejected Better Together deal.

"We are requesting that the DAA withdraw the proposed change to the annual leave allocation process as previously requested and desist from all other such changes to terms and conditions and established customs and practices while we are in process," said the union in its letter to the WRC.

The company has said that the issue over the annual leave year has no impact on any employee's holiday entitlements and is merely an administrative matter.

Sunday Indo Business

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