Labour Court Database
File Number: CD88310
Case Number: LCR11906
Section / Act: S67
Parties: MICRO MOTORS GROSCHOPP (IRELAND) LIMITED - and - IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Subject: Claims under the 27th wage round concerning:- (a) Payment of Average Earnings. (b) Payment for non-pieceworkers (Indirects).
9. Claim (a) Payment of Average Earnings:
The Court recommends that this issue should be considered in
conjunction with the review of the period October, 1987 to
October, 1988 as recommended at (2) of Labour Court Recommendation
Claim (b) Pay for "Indirects":
The Court recommends acceptance of the Company's offer in relation
to the National Plan. The Court does not recommend concession of
an "out-of-line" payment for the claimants.
Division: Mr Fitzgerald Mr Collins Mr Devine
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD88310 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR11906
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1976
PARTIES: MICRO MOTORS GROSCHOPP (IRELAND) LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE FEDERATED UNION OF EMPLOYERS)
IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
1. Subject: Claims under the 27th wage round concerning:-
(a) Payment of Average Earnings.
(b) Payment for non-pieceworkers (Indirects).
2. There was a dispute at the Company in December, 1986/January,
1987, and the settlement terms concerned, mainly, the Company's
bonus scheme. Claims concerning the agreed back-to-work formula
have been the subject of many Union/Company meetings. The Union
has argued that there has been an ongoing loss of earnings for
nearly all of its members. Claims concerning the Company's
interpretation of the back-to-work agreement were dealt with in a
previous Labour Court Recommendation (No. 11444). During local
discussions on the implementation of the terms of the 27th pay
round the Union claimed certain modifications of the agreement, in
relation to payment of average earnings and payment for
non-pieceworkers (Indirects). The Company offered the terms of
the National Plan and was not prepared to make any further
concessions to the Union. The dispute was referred to the
conciliation service of the Labour Court on the 7th March, 1988
and a conciliation conference took place on the 12th April, 1988
but no agreement was reached. The matter was referred to the
Labour Court for investigation and recommendation on the 26th
April, 1988. A Court hearing took place on the 24th May, 1988.
3. (a) Payment of Average Earnings:
1. The Union claims the payment of average earnings for cases
where there are no standards on jobs, where a standard is in
dispute, where workers are awaiting a re-study, and where workers
are transferred to another category. The Company rejected the
Union's claim, on the grounds that it was in breach of the
return-to-work agreement (details supplied to the Court).
4. 1. The return-to-work agreement changed basic parts of the
method of payment for pieceworkers in transfer situations and
on down-time (i.e. time not spent directly on production).
Prior to the agreement these situations were compensated for
by payment of the individual's average efficiency rating. The
changes had significant and detrimental effects on workers
earnings. Despite the fact that a 7% increase was agreed,
employees actually sustained losses in excess of £20.00 per
2. The Company has had fourteen months to observe the
implications of the agreement on three areas, namely:-
Where there is no standard on a job.
Where workers are waiting for a restudy.
Where workers are transferred to work not normally
3. The Union believes that standards should be available on
all work quickly. Employees have, in certain situations,
spent long durations waiting for a time study, while at the
same time, losing valuable bonus earnings. The Company have
total control over the matter, and the Union feels, it, should
pay full average, while a study being waited for.
4. Workers who contest a particular evaluation by the Company
can be made work the disputed standard indefinitely. Indeed
reference to the dispute of Christmas, 1986 which led to the
closure had its origins in a worker being left with a
grievance for months before the matter was concluded.
Again as in Number (3) the Company have at their disposal the
means to make these periods as short or long as they wish.
There are two permanent work-study officers, and it would only
be a minor concession for the Company to concede on this
4. 5. Presently when workers are transferred to other
departments or other work they either, work on a reduced level
of average as set out in return-to-work agreement, or are
expected to achieve bonus on work they are unfamiliar with or
unsuitable for. The Union feels that as transfers are a
contribution to productivity, and are at the Company's
convenience it is totally unfair to expect workers to be as
efficient in work normally theirs. Employees have endured
loss of income over the past 14 months, and have formed the
opinion that the Company are operating a different type of
agreement than that originally signed. This is leading to a
very serious situation, and we trust the Court will recognise
5. 1. The Company feels that payment for full average earnings
should be rejected because:-
(a) The back-to-work agreement, Section 4B states:-
" A transfer to another piecework job in the
operators own category will attract a fall-back
of 50% of the individuals average bonus. A
transfer to another piecework job in another
category will attract a fall-back of 75% of the
individuals average bonus. "
(b) The Company would find itself in a similar position
to that which existed before this agreement was
entered into where full average was paid for all
types of excuses and where less than 50% of the
time was spent on actual piecework. This almost
resulted in the permanent closure of the Company.
The Company's position at the meetings before this
return-to-work agreement was concluded, was that
where an employee was not on piecework jobs, then
the non-piecework bonus should be paid and not as
the Union's claim, a fall-back of full average.
However, the Company entered into an agreement and
is prepared to honour it. The Question of average
bonus and other grievances have already been the
subject of a Court Hearing (Recommendation 11444).
The Company requests the Court to uphold the
return-to-work agreement already accepted by both
6. (b) Payment for Non-pieceworkers (Indirects):
6. Workers who are not engaged in direct piecework are referred
to as Indirects. There are approximately thirty-five employees in
this category who are on a basic wage rate plus fifteen per cent
production bonus. The Union is seeking an increase in pay of
fifteen per cent for Indirects, and a percentage increase for
other staff. The Company has refused to concede this request and
have offered the terms of the National Plan.
7. 1. The basic rates for Indirects inclusive of 15 per cent
ranges from £147.39 to £161.08. This figure has not been
reviewed for four years. These rates are nowhere near rates
being paid by comparable employers locally. The employees
concerned are storepeople, quality control inspectors,
material handlers, machine operators and line headers and are
skilled and responsible employees. Details of local
comparisons have already been furnished to the Court, and show
clearly that the Indirects are entitled to an out-of-line pay
2. A list of some of the earnings in the mechanical and
mechanical assembly areas has already been furnished to the
Court, and it is clearly seen that a major difference exists
between the pieceworkers gross wage and the indirects. The
Union contends that if production bonus is high in given
areas, then there is an implied productivity for the
indirects, and should be awarded. The Company has rejected
any suggestions made by the Union at conciliation, including
the case of two scales (operational in other companies) which
would minimise relativity problems.
3. The Union feels that the indirects are in the minority and
it will be difficult to ratify the introduction of the pay
round until this matter is sorted out.
8. 1. The Company has 'offered' the terms of the National Plan
to the Union. The Company and the Union are both parties in
the Programme for National Recovery, and have accepted this
agreement. The Company has made this offer in full and final
settlement for the next three years commencing on the 2nd
February, 1988. The request for payment above this agreement
is totally unacceptable. The Company requests that the Court
does not recommend any increase other than that contained in
the Programme for National Recovery.