The Labour Court has backed IMPACT’s view that Roscommon County Council cannot reduce annual flexi leave arrangements. In a recommendation issued last week the Court said there should be no change in the current facility to take 13 days flexi leave a year. Management had wanted to reduce this to just two days.
IMPACT official Eddie Walsh said the union warmly welcomed the recommendation, which confirms that Roscommon council staff should have the same rights as their colleagues throughout the local government sector. “We will be seeking the immediate implementation of this decision and we have sought an early meeting with management to make that happen,” he said.
The dispute arose after council management tried to unilaterally alter the existing flexi-time arrangements, ignoring an earlier non-binding Labour Court recommendation.
The latest Labour Court recommendation, which is binding on both sides, pointed to the Haddington Road agreement’s provisions on flexi-time, which say: “no change is proposed to the existing terms with regard to the amount or the use of hours to be carried over.” That protection carried into the current (Lansdowne Road) agreement and will remain in force if the new Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) is backed by a majority of public service union members.
Staff undertook industrial action after council management moved to gut the Roscommon scheme by cutting the number of available days from 13 to two, reducing the amount of worked-up time that could be carried over from month to month, and taking control of the scheme away from line managers who understand local service needs.
Staff had refused to answer phones at certain times and stopped work outside normal working hours, in a bid to win back their rights. The union says flexi-time is of most benefit to low paid women workers with childcare commitments, because it allows them work up time, which that can later be taken as leave or flexible working.