Labour Court Database
File Number: CD87560
Case Number: LCR11358
Section / Act: S67
Parties: IRISH SUGAR CO. - and - ITGWU
Claim for: (a) grading increase for those engaged in climbing and rigging, (b) increase in the "additive climbing rate".
Division: Ms Owens Mr Shiel Mr O'Murchu
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD87560 THE LABOUR COURT LCR11358
CC87926 INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1976
RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR11358
Parties: SIUICRE EIREANN CPT
IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION (CARLOW BRANCH)
1. Claim for: (a) grading increase for those engaged in climbing
(b) increase in the "additive climbing rate".
2. The Union is claiming that climbers and riggers (the heavy
gang) be upgraded from their present grade 5 to grade 8 and that
the climbing allowance be increased from the current rate of #6.08
per week to #10.00. In response, the Company offered a grading
increase to the workers concerned from grade 5 to grade 6. This
was rejected by the Union and on the 9th June, 1987, the dispute
was referred to the conciliation service of the Labour Court. At
a conciliation conference on the 19th June, the Company again
offered an increase to grade 6 and also proposed increasing the
additive climbing rate from 15.44 pence per hour to 18 pence per
hour (from #6.08 to #7.20 per week). This was unacceptable to the
Union and, on the 14th July, the matter was referred to the Labour
Court for investigation and recommendation. A Court hearing took
place in Kilkenny on the 21st July, 1987.
Claim (a) - grading increase for those engaged in climbing and
3. (i) Rigging is presently a grade 5 job in the Company and
the Union contends that this is inadequate. The Company
has accepted this in direct discussions. Furthermore, a
regrading exercise carried out in 1986 indicated that
riggers were under-graded. Since this grading exercise
is still not clarified it cannot be relied upon to solve
this current dispute.
(ii) There are three riggers involved within the heavy gang
all year round. Other members are involved as required
and at present there are approximately 36 men involved.
This is due to the extensive capital work programme for
1987. The grading does not involve all these men since
the heavy gang (other than the permanent gang) is made
up of men who are assigned in the off season and carry a
grade higher than 5. Grading does not affect those men
since those with a grade in excess of 5 continue to hold
their original grade.
(iii) The workers concerned operate in some of the most
difficult conditions in the factory, working both inside
and outside the plant, carrying out constructing,
scaffolding, rigging, etc. The regrading exercise which
was carried out reflected this insofar as the highest
points scored by the heavy gang were for physical
effort, working conditions, responsibility for safety
and for materials.
(iv) There can be no doubt that this section is under-graded
by more than one grade. The claimants are unique within
the Company in that their work at Carlow is carried out
by contractors in other plants within the Company. The
cost to the Company is minimal in that the numbers will
be reduced drastically next year and, as already stated,
the permanent crew is small in numbers.
4. (i) In the grading review, carried out in the 1984/86
period, with the full involvement of both parties, the
job was accorded a score of 261 points which would
confirm that it is correctly graded at 5. This grading
review was Company-wide and extremely thorough with
direct inputs from workers, staff and experts
representing both sides.
(ii) Much of the work done by the permanent core of climbers
and riggers would not be far removed from that done by
tradesmen's helpers who are paid grade 3.
(iii) Those on grade 8 (the highest grade for general workers)
are paid #165.94 per forty hour week and the Union's
claim is for an extra #15.31 per forty hour week (in
percentage terms it is for an increase of 10.16%).
(iv) The Company rejects the claim as it sees no basis for it
but, as a gesture of goodwill, without prejudice and
against the evidence of measurement and evaluations,
offered an increase from grade 5 to grade 6 which is
worth #5.11 per forty hour week or #10.77 per shift week
during the campaign period where average paid hours are
84.33 per week.
Claim (b) - increase in the additive climbing rate
5. (i) This is a payment of 15.44 pence per hour and the base
rate was set in 1965 when an agreement to pay six old
pennies per hour was reached. Over the years the rate
attracted only part of wage increases insofar as cash or
flat rate increases did not affect the allowance.
(ii) Using Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures on hourly
earnings from March, 1985, to December, 1986, the six
old pennies (2.50p) now becomes 47 pence per hour or
#18.80 per week. If the additive climbing base rate had
been adjusted in proportion to other increases this
present problem would not now be an issue. The claim is
to re-adjust the allowance to an agreed base rate and
then link this to all wage increases negotiated.
(iii) The Company offered to increase the allowance to 18p per
hour or #7.20 per week. This was rejected because it
falls short of what the proper adjustment would yield.
Furthermore, where such work is required in other
semi-State companies, both pay rates and climbing
allowances are far in excess of the Company's rates
(details supplied to the Court).
(iv) It is also the case, as with the grading, that the
level of climbing in the Carlow plant is in excess of
that in other areas. The most recent example is the
construction of the new lime kiln to a height in excess
of 200 feet. The claimants were capable of such an
operation whereas other sections within the factory,
working on the kiln, did not climb past 60 feet.
6. (i) Since many of those permanently or temporarily engaged
at climbing and rigging would stand to benefit from both
claims the workers concerned are in effect seeking to
extract an increase of #21.48 per 40 hour week for a
significant number of their members (#15.31 + #6.176 to
(ii) A certain number of the permanent climbers and riggers
at Carlow who are pressing this claim are already
enjoying rates higher than the grade for the job and
they would not and should not benefit from the Company
offer of an increase from grade 5 to grade 6. Those
lower than grade 6 would benefit. All would benefit
from the proposed increase in the additive rate.
Because much of the work in the Company is on seven day
shift during campaign period where paid hours can be
84.33 per week, the Union claim would benefit some
workers to the extent of #45.28 per campaign week.
(iii) The Company considers that the offer to increase the
additive rate from 15.44 to 18.00 pence per hour
(increase of 16.58%) - and from which the craftsmen
could also benefit - was a reasonable gesture to resolve
a local issue but whose outcome would affect the whole
7. The Court, having considered the submissions from both
parties, recommends as follows:
(i) Increase in Grade The Court recommends that the
Company's offer of re-grading to
Grade 6 should be accepted without
prejudice to the outcome of the
overall grading review.
(ii) Additive Climbing Rate The Court recommends that this
allowance be increased to 20p per
hour and that in future this
allowance should be adjusted in
line with wage increases.
The above proposals to be implemented from the 1st September,
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
12th August, 1987 Evelyn Owens