Labour Court Database
File Number: CD9466
Case Number: LCR14438
Section / Act: S26(1)
Parties: G.R.E./P.M.P.A. GROUP LIMITED - and - SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Dispute concerning the termination of shift.
Division: MrMcGrath Mr McHenry Ms Ni Mhurchu
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD9466 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR14438
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
G.R.E./P.M.P.A. GROUP LIMITED
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
1. Dispute concerning the termination of shift.
2. 1. In early 1988, the Company introduced a method of
telephone selling known as "telecover" which is a
computerised facility enabling workers to give instant
insurance quotations by telephone. The workers were
appointed to telecover following an interview and voice
test. Staff appointed to the telecover unit qualified
for an additional increment and a shift premium of 20%.
2. A dispute arose concerning the level of shift premium
and in 1991, LCR13324 was issued altering the shift
pattern and reducing the premium to 12.5%. The Company
is now seeking to reduce the operating hours of
telecover and as a result to terminate the shift
arrangements. This would place the telecover staff on a
flexible working hours arrangement in common with other
clerical staff in the Company.
3. The Company offered to allow the workers to retain the
additional increment and that it would buy out the shift
premium in exchange for the termination of the shift.
The Union rejected the principle of the buy-out of shift
and indicated that it would only consider compensation
by way of an ongoing payment.
4. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations
Commission and conciliation conferences were held on
19th October and 29th November, 1993. No progress was
possible and the dispute was referred to the Labour
Court on 1st February, 1994 under Section 26(1) of the
Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court
investigation took place on 21st March, 1994.
3. 1. When telecover was established, the workers secured
their positions following a competitive interview. Their
success in achieving a telecover position curtailed the
workers' normal advancement through the Company's
2. The telecover initiative is a success and this is due in
no small way to the work and initiative of the workers
involved. This contribution to the Company's
profitability should be recognised.
3. The Labour Court Recommendation LCR13324 recognised the
payment of 12.5% for special skills, the history of
promotions within the Company and comparable industry
practices. The workers have enjoyed premium rates for 6
years and any attempt to reduce earnings will be
4. 1. The Company reserves the right to determine hours of
customer service. It is entirely satisfied that there
is no justification for post normal time opening or
telephone service. The Company has no requirement for
shift working and consequently there is no requirement
to pay shift premium
2. The Company is prepared to continue to pay the
additional increment granted to workers on their
appointment to the telecover unit. However, it would be
inequitable for the workers to retain any permanent
emolument in a post shift working situation.
3. Shift working by its very nature is not guaranteed.
Shift premiums are paid only for shift working. The
Company could justify the removal of shift premiums but
it accepts the industrial relations reality of a
buy-out. The issue of equity with other categories of
staff operating the same non-shift hours is very
The Court has come to the conclusion that it should recommend for
acceptance by both the Company and Union that this case be
resolved by increasing the offer made by the Company to:-
(a) Continue to pay the 12.5% shift premium until 30th June
(b) Pay a once-off lump sum to the claimants directly
involved equivalent to 9 months shift premium.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th May, 1994 Tom McGrath
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to
Mr. Jerome Forde, Court Secretary.