INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS (IRELAND) LIMITED
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
1. Compensation terms related to the introduction of the Frazer and Harrington reports and Circulation proposals.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns the Company's proposals on the re-organisation of the clerical and administration areas involving approximately 170 employees. The matter was the subject of a Labour Court hearing in March, 1994 following which a feasibility study of the proposed changes was undertaken.
The Frazer Report on the feasibility study was the subject of negotiations between the Company and the Union. In conjunction with negotiations on the Frazer Report two other sets of negotiations took place. These concerned the implementation of an earlier job evaluation report (Harrington Report) and re-organisation proposals for the circulation sales representatives. It had been agreed at a conciliation conference in November, 1993 that the Harrington Report would be dealt with in the context of the outcome of the discussions on re-structuring in the clerical/administration areas. The proposals for the re-organisation of the circulation sales area were the subject of a number of conciliation conferences during 1995.
A broad measure of agreement was reached between the parties in relation to the implementation of the Frazer and Harrington Reports and the proposals for the re-organisation of the circulation sales representatives. As agreement could not be reached on the Union's claim for an on-going benefit in return for acceptance of the various proposals the matter was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held on 19th April, 1996 and 29th May, 1996 but no progress was made. Following the conciliation conference on 29th May the Union outlined its claim as follows:-
(A) An on-going addition to salary;
(B) additional two weeks leave;
(C) implementation of the Harrington Report;
(D) indexation of pensions to a maximum of 4% per annum;
(E) no future threat to the income continuance scheme;
(F) front office proposals to be finalised;
(G) no compulsory relocation to the front office for circulation representatives.
As no agreement could be reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on 31st May, 1996 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 14th June, 1996.
3. 1. The projected savings according to management's figures is in excess of £1 million per annum. The workers have a reasonable expectation of sharing in these savings.
2. Since the closure of Irish Press Limited the circulation of the Company's three titles has increased significantly. Management has refused to adjust any of the Frazer figures to take account of this. All areas are affected and all proposed staffing levels enshrined in Frazer are proportionally distorted.
3. The Union is adamant that the Harrington Report, an integral part of the 1988 Agreement has no place in these negotiations. While the results have been available since 1993, management has refused to address its implementation.
4. The workers have already made a considerable contribution to the Company which increased its profits by 33% in 1995. Its proposals in relation to Frazer and the circulation area will substantially increase its profits.
5. The workers are seeking an on-going benefit. The Union has explored all options e.g., significant addition to salaries and/or profit sharing/share option and/or indexation of pensions to a maximum of 4% per annum. It rejects management's offer of a once off lump-sum payment.
1. Under the terms of the 1988 Agreement, the Union and the Company are jointly bound to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. The proposed work practice changes and staffing reductions will reduce unnecessary cost and render the organisation more effective.
2. The Company is meeting the provisions of Clause 2(C) of the Agreement in the manner in which it is agreeable to apply the Harrington Report terms i.e., 2 new higher pay scales plus the proposal of a once-off payment of £5,000 per person plus the creation of 6 permanent part-time posts.
3. The Company is offering to apply the £5,000 to all remaining employees even though a maximum of 70 from approximately 150 remaining employees are affected by the proposed changes.
4. The Company has been extremely patient and conciliatory with regard to these proposals which have been in train for 3 years. Management's proposals are reasonable, logical and, in effect, anticipated by the terms of the 1988 Agreement.
5. Reasonable co-operation by the Union through the utilisation of the terms of the Joint Agreement, could ensure that necessary change is enacted in a timely way and without detriment to employees' terms and conditions of employment. There seems to be little point in having an agreement if only one side is willing to properly utilise and apply the terms.
6. Delays in finalising these negotiations have not helped the Company in dealing with its customers and protecting or enhancing its franchise.
The Court has considered the comprehensive submissions made by the parties and has also studied the reports of the various meetings at conciliation level. The Court notes that at the end of the conciliation process the Union outlined as their final position a claim consisting of 6 items.
The Court recommends as follows:-
On acceptance by the Union of the Company's proposed changes, the Company pay
Employees not opting for redundancy, a sum of £6,000, as follows:-
(a) £3,000 on acceptance of the Company's proposals;
(b) £3,000 when the proposed 16/18 redundancies
have been achieved and the other elements in the proposals
are in place, but in any case not before 1st January, 1997.
Should an employee who has received £3,000 under (a) above subsequently opt for redundancy, the £3,000 payment will be deducted from the redundancy package.
In view of the recommendation set out above, it follows that the Court does not recommend in favour of the Union's claims for an increase in salary and extra leave.
The Court considers the claim for Indexation of Pensions should more correctly be dealt with on a Company-wide basis.
The Court is of the view that the Union's expressed concerns with regard to the future of the Income Continuance Scheme should be resolved locally.
Regarding the transfer of two people to the front office, the Court recommends that the Union agrees to this move and the Company, for its part, agrees to examine further any problems which may arise.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th July, 1996______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.