Labour Court Database
File Number: CD94445
Case Number: LCR14660
Section / Act: S26(1)
Parties: WATERFORD FOODS - and - AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Dispute arising from the Company's decision to close the garage at its Shandon site and to re-organise the fleet maintenance.
Division: Mr McGrath Mr McHenry Ms Ni Mhurchu
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD94445 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR14660
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
1. Dispute arising from the Company's decision to close the
garage at its Shandon site and to re-organise the fleet
2. Waterford Foods, Dairy Division, is a subsidiary of Waterford
Foods PLC, with its processing facilities located at the
Shandon site in Dungarvan. It is primarily engaged in the
manufacture of commodity type dairy products such as milk
powders, butters and casein.
The dispute arose following a Company re-appraisal of its
maintenance activities and the resultant proposed redundancy
of three mechanics. The Company claims that there has been
considerable change to the nature of its transport fleet
operation in recent years. The number of trucks has been
reduced in all sectors of activity and there has been a
considerable move towards the leasing of trucks. The Company
indicated that, if the three mechanics wished to take the
maintenance contract, proposals from them could be
considered. The Union rejected the Company's proposal on
the grounds that none of the three mechanics were prepared to
accept voluntary redundancy. The Union stated that the
Company had already achieved a 50% reduction in
staffing-levels in the garage since 1991. The Union also
stated that re-deployment was not an option since the three
were on a craft-rate and the only alternative work available
was general operative work.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission
and a conciliation conference was held on the 20th of July,
1994, at which agreement was not reached. The dispute was
referred to the Labour Court, on the 18th of August, 1994, in
accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations
Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute, on the 14th
of November, 1994, the earliest date convenient to both
3. 1. The nature of the transport fleet operating out of the
Shandon site has changed dramatically in recent years.
The number of trucks has been reduced in all areas (from
a total of 52 to 31) in the past 8 to 10 years.
2. In industry in general and in the Dairy sector in
particular, there has been a significant move towards
the leasing of the transport fleet. At present, 2/3rds
of the Shandon fleet is leased and as leased vehicles
are replaced on a 4 to 5-year cycle, the fleet is in
better condition, requiring less maintenance, than
before. Accordingly, service intervals have been
significantly increased. Also, leasing companies
generally carry out their own maintenance.
3. The maintenance cost per gallon of milk collected is
almost 100% greater for the Dungarvan fleet compared to
other milk collection fleets within the group.
4. The Company has presented a business plan to the
mechanics which would allow them to continue to maintain
the transport fleet on the Shandon site, at competitive
rates (details supplied to the Court).
4. 1. Compulsory closure of the garage or privatisation of the
fleet maintenance is unacceptable. Over the past decade
major re-organisation agreements have been concluded
leading to considerable reductions in manning and large
savings to the Company (details supplied).
2. Re-deployment of the mechanics is not a consideration as
they are not prepared to perform general duties, and
there are no craft positions available.
3. The Company should improve its redundancy package offer
in order to encourage interest from the workers. The
Union has no difficulty with mechanics who wish to take
The Court has fully considered all of the issues raised by the
parties in their oral and written submissions.
The Court finds that, if the Company is to be competitive in the
current environment in the industry and is to secure the optimum
employment, the Company proposal to close the maintenance facility
at Shandon should be implemented.
The Court notes the options the Company has put forward and
recommends that from these options the parties agree a basis on
which the closure can be effected.
The parties to finalise an agreement on or before 28th February,
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
17th January, 1995 Tom McGrath
M.K./D.T. Deputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to
Mr. Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.