News Update 4 April 2012
TO: ALL BRANCH SECRETARIES & CHAIRS, EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND HEAD OFFICE STAFF
DATE: 4TH APRIL 2012
RE: NEWS UPDATE 2/12
The Executive Committee held its monthly meeting last Thursday in Dublin. Below is a summary of a range of key issues for the union which are ongoing and were discussed at that meeting. Please bring to the attention of your members.
With the wind up of the Decentralisation Programme all outstanding issues will now be handled at the Redeployment sub group of General Council. A comprehensive Redeployment Toolkit is in draft form and will feature a series of FAQs and template letters and other documents to be used by Departments sanctioning voluntary and LIFO redeployments etc. This has yet to be signed off at Council. The CPSU along with the other unions is pressing for an independent appeals process for use by members facing a LIFO but where the transit distance and related costs will cause hardship etc. This is also under discussion at Council. Meanwhile Council has agreed an understanding that the 45km distance is to be the limit between an officers home and/or old location and the proposed new location and where one is over the 45 km then the officer will be passed over in a LIFO scenario until an officer within the 45km limit is found. This may well mean an officer with greater seniority being LIFO’d ahead of an officer with less service. An understanding has also been agreed on the interpretation of “reasonable commute” where an officer is already travelling more than 45km to the current work location.
The union has submitted its case for an appeals process for the JobBridge Internship Scheme for the Service to the JobBridge Steering Committee and is awaiting a response. The CPSU has suggested a process of review similar to that which operates for the CE Schemes in the Voluntary Sector. The CPSU has referred a number of proposed placements to the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform for review where it has concerns about the potential for job replacement/substitution.
- MONTHLY PAY CYCLE
The sub group of General Council set up to discuss proposals from PER to move to monthly pay will not now meet until after Easter. The unions have requested a series of information/data and anticipated cost savings if any while questioning any move to a monthly cycle. The CPSU has highlighted the very real practical problems a move from weekly pay will entail for its members and a Circular has been issued seeking individual members to come forward to assist in the effort to stop any change to a monthly cycle.
- DEDUCTIONS FROM PENSION LUMP SUMS – APPEALS PROCESS
The Appeals options for members who have had deductions made from their retirement lump sum on foot of errors in the deduction of the Spouses & Childrens element of their pension has been confirmed at General Council. Where an officer is querying a decision to make such a deduction an appeal can be made to the Minister while a complaint can also be lodged with the Pensions Ombudsman. The union will now follow up on a number of cases which have come to its attention.
- GARDA EQUAL PAY CASE
As members are aware the Garda Equal Pay case which was won before the Equality Tribunal and then overturned by the Labour Court is currently on appeal to the High Court. The High Court have referred a number of questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and we expect that it will take anything from twelve to eighteen months before a response is received. In the meantime the union is in the process of updating our database of follow on cases and claims and a report will be made to Annual Delegate Conference in April.
- GARDA ROSTERS
When the EU Working Time Directive was transposed into Irish Law via the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 it was thought that the Garda Siochana and the Defence Forces were exempt from their provisions. Apparently no such exemption applied and the current Garda rosters must now be brought in line with this piece of legislation. In addition the new rosters are deemed to be more conducive to a healthy lifestyle. The GRA have been in negotiations for some time on new Garda rosters, which is a significant element of the Croke Park Agreement for Garda and has been agreed in principle by their National Executive. These new rosters will come into operation for the Garda from the 30th April and will run as a pilot for 12 months. The CPSU have, as far back as September 2011, been raising concerns as to why negotiations were only taking place with the GRA when any revised roster arrangements will have implications for the Civilian unions as well. This is of particular concern where CPSU members who work the same Divisional shifts as the Garda. These new rosters include a change from an 8 hour shift to a 10 hour shift with Sunday the only day on which the 8 hour shift will apply. All Garda on operational duties will work six days on – 6 x 10 hour days = 60 hours, and four days off. However I have now received assurances that negotiations will take place with the Civilian unions in advance of the implementation date of 30th April 2012.
- COMBINED COURTS PROJECT
The union is in the process of reviewing the work in the original three Courts offices, Naas, Ennis and Monaghan, to ensure that there is a level of consistency regarding the work being done at CO, SO and EO level and that arrangements for PMDS are applicable to all offices.
8. CLAIM FOR INCREASE IN MARRIAGE LEAVE
The Union lodged a claim at General Council Staff Panel seeking to increase the threshold on marriage leave by two days to an overall total, between annual leave and marriage leave, of 28 days to correspond with the conversion of the two privilege days to overall leave. This claim which will also apply to Civil Partnership services is currently under consideration at this forum.
A ballot recommendation against proposals on general servicisation of mapping grades in PRA has been made by CPSU. The Union favours integration but current proposals are fundamentally flawed, creating a yellow pack EO in the Authority while also undermining career prospects of our members. Assuming the members reject the proposals, when the ballot is completed on 4th April, the National Committee will consider all options open to it including referral to ad hoc arbitration or possibly referral under Equality legislation.
- AGRICULTURE – RAPHOE
A decision was taken by the National Executive Committee to support our members in Raphoe who for personal reasons feel they are not in a position to redeploy the 90 km round trip to their assigned new office locations. The Department of Agriculture Food and Marine are invoking the redeployment protocols of the Croke Park Agreement however there are concerns around compliance with the protocols of the agreement and the ‘reasonable commute’ clause provided for in the Croke Park Agreement.
- SOCIAL PROTECTION – MEANS OBJECT
The Executive gave sanction to hold a protective ballot on industrial action in a dispute with the Department over changes in the Means Object/SDM which is impacting currently in Longford DA, Redundancy & Insolvency and PSO Sligo but is likely to have much wider impact in due course. Further discussions with SP management have been arranged, referral to arbitration under Croke Park may be likely while a meeting of members in Longford is planned for later this week.
- SOCIAL PROTECTION – BACK TO SCHOOL FOOTWARE & CLOTHING
Proposals to provide a call centre support in PSO Sligo for the operation in Letterkenny have caused concern and the Executive in advance of negotiations has given sanction for a protective ballot on industrial action should one prove necessary.
The above is a summary of current news and development but is not exhaustive. A further news update will issue in the coming week or so.
If you have any queries please contact the relevant Head Office official for the Department involved