Council staff to get €450 allowance for lunches
A GROUP of council workers were yesterday celebrating after the Labour Court recommended that they should receive an eating-on-site allowance.
Dublin City Council had refused to pay the workers the allowance, claiming they were not entitled to it.
At the Labour Court, the city council argued that a group of leisure centre workers shouldn't qualify for the payment because they have adequate facilities.
However, IMPACT argued that the allowance has been paid for more than 35 years to council workers.
In its ruling, the Labour Court stated that: "On a strict interpretation of the relevant agreement it could be cogently argued that the allowance in issue does not apply in this case.
"However, the agreement is not applied with the same degree of stricture to the vast majority of similarly-graded staff who also have access to kitchen facilities".
The Labour Court said: "It is acknowledged that of 185 similarly graded staff, 154 are in receipt of the allowance.
"There is no material difference in the standard or quality of facilities available to those in receipt of the allowance and those available to the claimants."
As a result, the Court recommended that the payment be made to the claimants from last November 29.
Providing that the city council abides by the recommendation, the six workers stand to receive between €400 and €450 each as the allowance is set at €9.52 per week. An additional 23 workers may be in line to receive it as well.
A spokesman for IMPACT said that around 1,500 general operatives at the council receive the eating-on-site allowance, which was first introduced in 1979.
However, Mark Fielding, the chief executive of small and medium sized business group ISME, said workers in the private sector "will have a fit" when they see such allowances and perks being paid.