Labour Court Database
File Number: CD89396
Case Number: LCR12508
Section / Act: S67
Parties: IRISH INDUSTRIAL GASES - and - IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
The payment of an allowance to two workers who stand-in for the foreman during absences.
5. In view of the Company's contention that the claimants have
never and never will be required to carry out the duties for which
the foreman is paid an additional allowance the Court finds no
justification for recommending concession of the Union's claim.
Division: Ms Owens Mr Shiel Mr Walsh
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD89396 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR12508
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1976
PARTIES: IRISH INDUSTRIAL GASES
(REPRESENTED BY THE FEDERATED UNION OF EMPLOYERS)
IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
1. The payment of an allowance to two workers who stand-in for
the foreman during absences.
2. The workers concerned with the claim are employed in the Site
Services Section of the Company's plant in Cork. There are four
workers employed in this area. One foreman covers from 8 a.m. to
4.00 p.m. while the other foreman commences work at 12.00 noon and
finishes at 8.00 p.m. The two general operatives work shifts
within the 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. periods. The foreman's differential is
#59.32 per week on basic pay and is #70 per week taking shift
premiums and overtime into account. In late 1988, the Union
lodged a claim for the payment of an allowance to the general
operatives when they stand-in for their foreman during absences.
The Company rejected this claim and the matter was referred to the
Labour Court in January, 1989. A conciliation conference was held
on 15th March, 1989. The Company again rejected the claim and the
Union requested a full Court hearing. The Company agreed and the
Court investigated the dispute in Cork on 2nd August, 1989.
3. 1. The foreman on each shift is responsible for co-ordinating
work allocation and for paper work. He ensures that work
progresses in an efficient and orderly manner. He deals with
customer complaints and takes immediate action to remedy them.
In the absence of the foreman for whatever reason, the job
must go on. While an initial absence is covered by overtime
or by employing a temporary worker, someone must assume the
role of foreman to ensure that the work is carried out in a
safe and efficient manner. In the Site Services Area, the
responsibility falls on the individual operator on the shift
where the foreman is absent.
3. 2. It is a well established practice in industry that a
worker who acts in a position of responsibility or in a higher
grade, receives the rate of pay appropriate to that position.
The only constraint is that occasionally the worker must be
acting in the position for a specific period of time.
Management have refused to concede this, despite the fact that
on one occasion the foreman's duties has been carried out for
a period of six months by the operator on his shift.
3. Management claim that general operatives did not carry out
the full range of foreman duties and that the duties of
general operatives did not change. This is a contradiction
because, if they carried out the main part of the foreman's
duties but not the full range, the duties and responsibilities
of general operatives must have changed.
4. The Company are now proposing that one foreman would be
sufficient for the Site Services Section. They state that
management would assume responsibility during a foreman's
absence and that no general operative will act as foreman.
The general operatives have continued to cover for a foreman
during the period of these negotiations and on all other
occasions when requested to do so.
4. 1. The general operatives are not required to stand-in for
the foremen when they are absent. There can be no question of
an allowance being paid.
2. When a foreman is absent, more senior management take on
managerial aspects of the job, as is necessary. The general
operatives do no more than their normal duties. There are no
precedents within the Company for the payment of an allowance
in this type of situation.
3. The Site Services Operation in Cork does not warrant two
full-time foremen. It is the desire of the Company to
eliminate these positions and buy-out the differentials.
Concession of this claim would have implications in other
areas, especially Site Services in Dublin.
4. The terms of the Programme for National Recovery, which
has been accepted and implemented within the Company, state
that there should be no cost increasing claims for the
duration of the agreement. This is a cost increasing claim
and therefore is precluded under the terms of the plan.