Labour Court Database
File Number: CD88915
Case Number: LCR12409
Section / Act: S20(1)
Parties: FUJITSU MICROELECTRONICS IRELAND LIMITED - and - IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION;DUBLIN NO. 2 BRANCH
Claim for recognition without preconditions by the Union representing technical, supervisory and administration workers.
Division: Ms Owens Mr Shiel Mr Devine
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD88915 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR12409
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1976
PARTIES: FUJITSU MICROELECTRONICS IRELAND LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE FEDERATED UNION OF EMPLOYERS)
IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
(DUBLIN NO. 2 BRANCH)
1. Claim for recognition without preconditions by the Union
representing technical, supervisory and administration workers.
2. The Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Futjitsu, Japan.
The parent Company is the largest computer designer/manufacturer
in Japan and is one of the largest semi-conductor manufacturers in
the world. Over 100,000 people are employed worldwide.
3. The subsidiary in Ireland was founded in Autumn 1980 and
production of integrated circuits for the European market place
commenced at Tallaght, Co. Dublin in 1981. There are currently
250 people employed there.
4. In March, 1988 the Company received a letter from
Manufacturing Science Finance (M.S.F.) stating that some of its
employees had been accepted into membership and were seeking a
recognition and procedural agreement. The Company wrote to that
union informing them that it had a single union Agreement with the
I.T.G.W.U., that it was a condition of employment of the personnel
(which the M.S.F. sought to represent) that if they wished to be
represented by a union, then it was crucial to the future of the
Company that it remain a single union operation. On this basis
the Company declined to meet with the M.S.F.
5. On the 14th July, 1988 the Managing Director wrote to the
workers concerned setting out the Company's business objectives,
its personnel policy and its attitude to the M.S.F. being a second
union. The workers concerned were offered three options for
(a) continuation of existing direct relationships
(b) formation of a staff association
(c) representation by appropriate section of I.T.G.W.U.
Subsequent to the issue of the letter general meetings were held
among the staff in August. As a result the workers decided to
resign from M.S.F. and to initiate exploratory talks with the
I.T.G.W.U. No. 2 Branch.
6. In September, 1988 the I.T.G.W.U. No. 2 Branch informed the
Company that it had accepted the workers concerned into membership
and sought an explanatory and exploratory meeting. Two meetings
took place on the 7th October, 1988 and the 2nd November, 1988.
The Company indicated its preparedness to recognise the No. 2
Branch on condition that a recognition and procedural agreement
could be put in place. The Company submitted an agreement which
was an abbreviated version of an existing comprehensive procedures
and conditions agreement in place for general operatives
represented by the No. 14 Branch (details supplied to the Court).
The Union indicated that it could not accept an existing agreement
as a basis for recognition.
7. The matter was referred to the conciliation service of the
Labour Court and a conciliation conference was held on the 10th
November, 1988 arising from which the issue was referred to the
Labour Court for a full hearing. The Court found that the parties
had differing views as to the issues before it and subsequently
wrote to the parties recommending that they return to the
conciliation service. A further conciliation conference was held
on 22nd February, 1989. The parties could not agree as to what
issues should be referred to the Court. The Union were seeking
the referral "Trade Union recognition without precondition" or a
joint reference of all the issues subject to both parties being
bound by the Court's recommendation on same. The Company were
seeking a referral for "Trade Union recognition or terms for Trade
8. The Union then referred the issue (Trade Union Recognition
without precondition) to the Labour Court for investigation and
recommendation under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations
Act, 1969. A Court hearing was held on the 28th April, 1989. The
Union agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
9. 1. It is a fundamental right of any worker to organise
himself/herself into a trade union. That right is guaranteed
by constitution of the State. The employer has also a right
to join an appropriate trade union, in this case the F.U.E.
Workers have neither attempted to interfere with the employers
right to join such a union and to use that union in his/her
relationship with the employees. Yet the same employers take
upon themselves the right to not only say what union a worker
may join but to also attempt to dictate the terms that will
govern any subsequent relationship between the employer and
2. In responding to the M.S.F. when they attempted to
represent the staff, the employer in a letter dated 13th
April, 1988 clearly states it is a condition of employment
that if a member of technical, clerical, administrative and
supervisory staff wish to be represented by a trade union it
must by virtue of their contract be the I.T.G.W.U. Given that
a contract does exist to that effect how can the Company argue
that it does not have an obligation to recognise the
I.T.G.W.U. if the employee exercises that contractual right.
3. The actual letter of appointment to members of the staff
grades (details supplied to the Court), clearly states that
the grades in question are not covered by a union Agreement:
That if they became unionised it must be the I.T.G.W.U. and
that on that eventuality "the terms and conditions of
employment would be jointly agreed between the Company and the
Trade Union" this clearly commits the Company to recognising
the I.T.G.W.U. on behalf of these grades and that the only
issues to be negotiated are the terms and conditions of
employment. Nowhere does it state or imply that recognition
will be preconditional of acceptance of any particular
4. The Court is asked to recommend that the Company honour
the exclusive agreement which it acknowledges exists with the
Union and to use all normal procedures to address any issue
that might be of concern to either party.
10. 1. The Semi-Conductor Industry is fiercely competitive. It
is a global rather than a regional industry. Decisions on
existing and future potential investments are taken against
assessment of the perceived orderliness and stability of
labour force matters. The Court will know that a substantial
proportion of employees in Ireland are not unionised in the
Electronic Industry, and that recently, in the U.K.
especially, there has been a significant growth in single
union, no-strike deals in this Industry, as a basis for
2. The Company is prepared to recognise the Union, but not in
isolation. It is not prepared to recognise the Union without
a basis that ensures that operations take place uninterrupted
while grievances, disputes, and appeals against disciplinary
decisions are processed through normal industrial relations
3. The customer determines the fate of enterprises. The
customer requires quality, reliability of supply and a
competitive price. Agreements between companies and unions
need to reflect this. It is idle to talk about commitment to
reliability if arrangements to deal with disputes are not put
in place, and complete commitment to operate them is not made.
It is in the employees' interest that this be done.
4. The Company is pro customer, and pro shareholder and
employee. It is prepared to uphold the terms of the contract
of employment regarding Union representation, and expects
employees to do likewise.
5. A clear majority of employees in the categories
appropriate to I.T.G.W.U. No. 2 Branch do not wish to be
represented by a Union. Many of them have complained of the
unrepresentative position taken by the Union representatives.
6. The vast majority of employees in the Company represented
by No. 14 Branch, overwhelmingly accept the standard
procedures on grievances and discipline. They have just
recently (13/3/89) restated that support. To agree something
else with this Union would undermine stability of operations.
11. The Court, having considered the submissions in this case,
recommends that the Company recognise the Union without
preconditions. The Court, however, recognises that, in the
circumstances outlined at the hearing, the Company requires a
negotiated procedural agreement with the No. 2 Branch which will
meet its requirements to survive in a fiercely competitive
industry. The Court, therefore, further recommends that the
parties meet as soon as possible to negotiate such an agreement
which will protect the interests of both parties and to this end
the Court will make available an I.R.O. to assist the parties if
they so desire. The negotiations to be concluded by 30th June,
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th May, 1989. Deputy Chairman