Written Answers. - Industrial Disputes.

Billy Timmins

Question:

205 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if there are any employees in his Department or employed by agencies of his Department, that are receiving a salary but are not working due to industrial disputes, non-agreement on new work practices or awaiting new procedures or practices to be put in place; if so, the total wages of such employees since they fell into this category; the wages for the year 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4101/03]

There are five former employees of the Dublin District Milk Board who are paid a salary by my Department but are not working pending new procedures being put in place.

Following protracted discussions, my Department understands the Department of Finance and the Civil Service Commission have now agreed to issue the excluding order. As soon as it is issued, this Department can assign these five ex-milk board employees to duties.
The background to this is that following an EU decision that the milk regulatory function of the Dublin and Cork milk boards was contrary to EU competition policy, the function of the boards were transferred to the private sector in 1995.
To protect the interest of workers and comply with the commitment in the Programme for National Recovery and PESP that privatisation would not involve redundancies, one of the terms of the milk board rationalisation agreement was that if the transferred employees were subsequently made redundant by the private sector they would be deployed forthwith to the public sector at an analogous salary.
To date 49 of the relevant 69 employees have been made redundant. All exercised their option to transfer to the public sector and were assigned to this Department. Of these, 44 were assigned to appropriate duties. Under the Civil Service Commissioners Act 1956, the five remaining former employees cannot be appointed to the civil service until an excluding order under section 5 of that act has been issued by the Civil Service Commissioners.
The total wages for these employees since their commencement is €721,561.38 while their total wages for 2002 amounted to €194,069.88.