Labour Court Database
File Number: CD88494
Case Number: LCR11989
Section / Act: S67
Parties: MILTON BRADLEY IRELAND - and - IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Claim on behalf of production workers for the restoration of tea breaks, prior to starting overtime.
5. The Court is of the view that the number and extent of
"breaks" are excessive and above the average applying in industry.
The Court also notes that under the 1987 wages agreement the
reduction of non-production time was a subject for resolution
between the parties. The Court recommends as follows:-
(a) The Union agree to a reduction of ten minutes per day in
(b) The manner in which this reduction is to be applied to be
the subject of local negotiations.
(c) If agreement on the above is reached by thirtieth September
the Company restore the overtime breaks on weekdays and
(d) The Company pay a sum of fifty pounds to all employees
affected by the above proposals.
Division: Ms Owens Mr Heffernan Mr Devine
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD88494 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR11989
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1976
PARTIES: MILTON BRADLEY IRELAND
IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
1. Claim on behalf of production workers for the restoration of
tea breaks, prior to starting overtime.
2. The Company is involved in the production of games and toys.
Within the Company's working day employees are entitled to four
breaks per day - two ten minute and two fifteen minute breaks. In
addition employees working a minimum of two hours overtime have a
further fifteen minutes break. During the past two years
management has endeavoured, with a series of proposals, to reduce
the number of breaks. As no progress was made the Company
decided, as and from February, 1988, to discontinue the tea break
prior to working overtime. The Company argues that this action
was necessary for future stability and competitiveness within the
plant. The Union states that the decision is in breach of the
Union/Management agreement and is against agreed procedures and
practice. As no agreement was reached in discussions at local
level the dispute was referred to the conciliation service of the
Labour Court on the 26th February, 1988. A conciliation
conference took place on the 21st April, 1988 but no agreement was
reached. The matter was referred to the Labour Court for
investigation and recommendation on the 28th June, 1988. A Court
hearing took place on the 20th July, 1988.
3. 1. The dispute in this case arises out of a management
decision to withdraw the five p.m. tea break at the
commencement of overtime Monday to Thursday inclusive and the
ten minute tea break on Saturday also associated with
overtime. The decision was a unilateral one taken without
agreement with the Union. The workers resented the decision
to take away what can only be regarded as a very important
break and this feeling was conveyed to management but the
situation did not change as management were not disposed
towards restoring the breaks.
2. The five p.m. and Saturday breaks have been part and
parcel of overtime working since the plant commenced
operations. While it is not included in the management/union
master agreement, it is in as a condition secured on behalf of
the workers who consent to work overtime. The removal of the
break and the manner in which it was done is a breach of
4. 1. While management have tried over a period of two years,
with a series of proposals, to reduce the number of breaks,
the Union has not been willing to enter into meaningful
negotiations to date and have continually said 'no' to any
change. The Company needs a reduction in plant breaks to
reduce the difference between paid hours and actual hours
worked in the plant. Management's job is to combine
production factors so as to adopt them to the market situation
and maintain competitiveness. The Company needs to maintain
and increase production and adapt quickly to very different
working priorities and resume work on time after breaks.
Every time employees have a break they pick up "wasted" time
in tardy return to work, line restart, etc.
2. The Company cannot continue to operate at the efficiency
levels presently being obtained on day work and on overtime on
weekday evenings and on Saturdays. The type of industry,
being by nature a fashion product, and seasonal, calls for
work methods and breaks that are flexible and for production
changes in order to be able to develop maximum utilisation of
working time. The Company's labour costs have increased as
the actual working week is below forty hours when account is
taken of paid breaks. The breaks in the working day decrease
the actual production time to thirty six hours and five
minutes in a paid working week of forty hours. In addition to
these breaks during the working day, a further tea break of
fifteen minutes has been available to those employees working
a minimum of two hours overtime. Under the Company's
staggered breaks system, many will have had an afternoon paid
break between four and four thirty p.m.