Labour Court Database
File Number: CD88493
Case Number: LCR12171
Section / Act: S67
Parties: COW AND GATE WEXFORD LIMITED - and - ELECTRICAL TRADES UNION;NATIONAL ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL TRADE UNION
Claim by the Unions on behalf of one fitter and one electrician for the payment of a shift premium on a year round basis.
5. The Court, having considered the submissions from both
parties, does not recommend concession of the Unions' claim. The
Court further considers that the Company's offer as set out in
their submission to the Court should be improved by the granting
of the same annual leave to the two claimants as that granted to
the shift workers and recommends that this offer, as amended, be
accepted by the Unions.
The revised pay conditions to apply from 1/12/88 and the revised
holiday arrangements from the start of the 1989 annual leave year.
Division: Ms Owens Mr Collins Mr Walsh
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD88493 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR12171
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1976
PARTIES: COW AND GATE WEXFORD LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE FEDERATED UNION OF EMPLOYERS)
ELECTRICAL TRADES UNION
NATIONAL ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL TRADE UNION
1. Claim by the Unions on behalf of one fitter and one
electrician for the payment of a shift premium on a year round
2. The 2 craftsmen were employed to work days with a requirement
to relieve on shift to cover for absences due to sick leave,
holidays etc... While working shifts they are paid shift premium
and any other conditions applicable to shift, when working days
they are paid day rates. The Unions claim that the workers
concerned should be paid the shift premium on a year round basis
because they actually work shift for a large proportion of the
year. The Unions also contend that the cover for absence is
unpredictable and as a result their social life is subject to more
severe disruption than the regular shift workers who know from
week to week when they are working. The Company rejected the
claim on the basis that the workers concerned already earn over
£20,000 per annum and were specifically recruited under the
condition that they would cover shift absences. As the issue
could not be settled at local level it was referred on 30th March,
1988, to the conciliation service of the Labour Court. At a
conciliation conference, held on 16th June, 1988, the Company
proposed paying the workers concerned 3 hours per week, all year
round, for looking after their own stores, on conditions that:
- the claim for full shift would not be reintroduced,
- there would be no repercussive claims from craftsmen,
- existing flexibility on covering shifts would continue,
- relief craftsmen would cover stores etc., as with other
craftsmen i.e. as and when required.
This proposal was rejected by the Unions and on 28th June, 1988,
the dispute was referred to the Labour Court for investigation and
recommendation. The Court investigated the dispute on
22nd November, 1988, in Wexford.
3. 1. The positions were originally envisaged as comprising
mainly day work, with occasional holiday and sickness relief
on shift. However, in practice, it has been found that the
greater proportion of their time is spent on shift work, e.g.
the electricians, in 1987, worked a total of 113 shift duties
out of a total of 182.
2. While a shift worker would have a regular shift roster,
the relief workers have a completely irregular pattern of
shift work. Since in theory shift premium is paid as
compensation for the social inconvenience of shift working as
compared with the regularity of day working, the Unions
believe that the irregularity of these workers' duty pattern
more than justify the full payment of shift premium.
3. Shift workers are paid an additional 3 hours per week as
compensation for use of stores when unstaffed, use of canteen
when unstaffed and the handover of shift. Since the workers
concerned do all of these things for a large proportion of
their time, they should also receive this allowance.
4. Regular shift workers tend to take holidays at a time when
they would normally be on night shift, as a result, the relief
men spend a disproportionate amount of their time on night
5. Regular shift workers get 24 days holidays, the relief men
get only 20 days, because they are classified as day workers.
The disruption to their lives of the irregular pattern of
duties, more than justifies their being allowed the extra
6. In the case of the production workers, each of the four
shifts has a relief man. These relief men are all paid full
shift pay even when they are not actually covering a shift.
The relief craftsmen have to cover all four shifts and are
only paid shift premium when actually covering shift. This
anomaly is unfair.
7. Day workers who work a "Day Rota", i.e. they work
Saturdays with a midweek day off, are paid a permanent premium
of 12½%. However, in some cases the relief craftsmen would
have to come in on Saturday and work for flat time in order to
make up the 40 hours.
8. When a requirement to cover shift over a weekend results
in the workers concerned doing more than 40 hours in the week,
the Company pays overtime rates on one of their daywork duties
and pays them time + 1/3 at the weekend where day workers
would receive double time for Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
4. 1. The earnings and conditions of employment of the workers
concerned are among the best in the Company. Their existing
conditions include a basic wage of almost £227 per week, a 35%
shift premium, a pension scheme, tool allowance, canteen
allowance, 20 days holidays, work clothing and laundry at
nominal charge, telephone rental and regular overtime.
2. The number of scheduled relief shifts (excluding
overtime) worked by the 2 workers concerned from a total of
182 has been as follows:-
WORKER A WORKER B
1986 67 88
1987 60 98
1988 45 on permanent shift.
Indeed in the case of worker B in 1986, 51 of the shifts
worked were on a regular shift pattern covering a long term
absence, and in 1987, 75 shifts were long term absence cover.
3. The Company, at conciliation, made a reasonable offer, in
good faith, in an attempt to resolve the issue. This was
rejected by the Union.
4. The Company cannot resolve this claim by a concession
which would be costly and have potential knock on effects in
5. The conditions of employment of craftsmen are already
extremely favourable. It would be imprudent to add an anomaly
by paying a shift premium all year round to the workers whose
contracts of employment state, inter alia, that:
" You will be paid the appropriate shift rate for the
period that you are on shift."
The Company is already meeting all it's contractual