Labour Court Database
File Number: CD93336
Case Number: LCR14147
Section / Act: S26(1)
Parties: IRISH GLASS BOTTLE LIMITED - and - TECHNICAL ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Dispute concerning rationalisation proposals.
Division: Ms Owens Mr McHenry Mr O'Murchu
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD93336 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR14147
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
PARTIES: IRISH GLASS BOTTLE LIMITED
TECHNICAL ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
1. Dispute concerning rationalisation proposals.
2. 1. The Company employs 430 workers in the production of glass
containers from 2 furnaces The dispute concerns 45 fitters in
the maintenance department of the Company. In May, 1992, the
Company issued rationalisation proposals to the workforce.
Agreement was reached in November 1992, with S.I.P.T.U. which
represents 85% of the workforce. The Company is now seeking
to reach agreement on rationalisation with the 45 fitters who
represent the next largest group in the Company.
2. Local meetings took place during December, 1992 and the
Company's proposals were rejected. The Company was advised
that the Union would only proceed with discussions provided
that the issues of numbers employed, demarcation and
contractors were withdrawn.
3. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations
Commission and conciliation conferences were held on 20th
January, 23rd February and 21st April, 1993. The Industrial
Relations Officer wrote to the parties on 24th February, 1993
seeking a basis on which negotiations could begin. The letter
stated inter-alia the terms of the Company's approach to the
negotiations as follows:
1. "It would negotiate on manning levels.
2. It was seeking an agreement in principle on
demarcation at this stage. The precise terms of
such an agreement would be worked out following the
satisfactory conclusion of talks on rationalisation.
3. It would negotiate on both contracting in and
contracting out and would be willing to consider in
this context the question of the module shop".
4. The Industrial Relations Officer's initiative was
rejected by the Union. A later initiative to allow the issue
of demarcation with S.I.P.T.U. be put aside for a time was
also rejected. No agreement was possible and the dispute was
referred to the Labour Court on 28th May, 1993 under Section
26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court
investigation took place on 21st June, 1993 (the earliest date
suitable to both parties).
3. 1. It is the Union's responsibility to safeguard the workers'
job security. The workers have clearly rejected the Company's
proposals, particularly the issue of surrendering their work
to machine operatives and management personnel. The
maintenance department is not prepared to give up 8 jobs while
the work remains to be done.
2. Negotiations cannot commence while the issue of
demarcation remains part of the proposals. The Union is
prepared to negotiate all other aspects of the document in the
interest of progress.
4. 1. The Company is facing serious problems in the marketplace
because of poor quality and uncompetitiveness. It is
essential that an agreement on rationalisation be agreed with
the Union. The fitters proposals include reductions in
numbers, changes in work practices, flexibility, demarcation
etc. The issue of demarcation is critical if the plant is to
have a future.
2. The Company has agreement on its rationalisation proposals
with 85% of its workforce. The major Union has agreed to
negotiate on demarcation, following discussions with the
fitters. The majority of workers who have not reached
agreement with the Company are within the craft unions. It is
critical for the future of the Company that this matter be
5. The Court has given careful consideration to all aspects of
this dispute. The Court is concerned that the entrenched
attitudes evident will lead to a further deterioration in
relations between the parties. The Court is also conscious of the
efforts made by the Industrial Relations Officer to initiate
negotiations on rationalisation. In all the circumstances the
Court urges and recommends the Union to commence negotiation on
the Company's proposals as outlined in document dated 1st May,
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
22nd July, 1993. Deputy Chairman.
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to
Mr. Jerome Forde, Court Secretary.