INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ABB TRANSFORMERS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
1. Rates of pay.
2. The dispute concerns a claim on behalf of 11 welders/fabricators for parity of pay with the National Joint Industrial Council craft rates for the Electrical Contracting and Construction Industries. The workers concerned were accorded craft status in recent years and were given parity of pay with other craft workers in the Company. The Union claims that linkage with the external craft rates is well-established and that the Company's craft rate is out of line by up to £20 per week. The Company responded that all craftworkers are on the Company craft rate which was determined internally. It claims that it never accepted that there was any external linkage and also that such linkage is inappropriate for manufacturing companies such as itself. The company also views the claim as cost-increasing and hence debarred by the Programme for Competitiveness and Work.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, at which agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 2nd of November, 1995, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute in Waterford, on the 26th of June, 1996.
3. 1. The Fabricator/Welders are highly skilled craftworkers and work to world class standards and possess the highest level of welding skills (ASME 9 Coded Welders) which, in any other industry, qualifies for payments over and above the craft rate.
2. The workers concerned have, in the past, been more than reasonable in trying to have Labour Court Recommendation LCR3834 applied. However, all internal comparisons were frustrated and circumvented by the Company's re-categorisation of all other craftsmen in the Company.
3. The claimants would be prepared to accept a basic craft rate within the Company of £252 per week. Additionally, a phasing in of this rate over a period of 3 years would be acceptable.
1. The National Joint Industrial Council agreement for the Electrical Contracting Industry is specific in respect of the parties to whom it applies. Under "Scope" the agreement defines an electrical contractor as "the proprietor of a business whose main activity is the performance of electrical work on a contract or sub-contract basis for any third party". The Company does not perform electrical work either on a contract or sub-contract basis for any third party. The Company is an exclusively manufacturing operation and, therefore, is not, and never has been, covered by this agreement. In fact, the agreement states that it even excludes "electricians and apprentices employed directly by manufacturing companies for the maintenance of those companies' plants".
2. The NJIC Electrical Contracting Industry agreement states, again under "Scope", that it "will apply to all electricians who are engaged in the general electrical contracting industry". This agreement, therefore, does not apply to the employees who are the subject of the current claim.
3. This claim is cost-increasing and is, therefore, precluded under Section 6 of the PCW. This provision was further confirmed between the Company and the Union in a document of the 24th May, 1994, whereby it was "agreed that no cost-increasing claims by trade unions for improvements in pay and conditions of employment other than provided by Clause 2 and 4 (of the PCW) would be made during the currency of this Agreement".
Having considered the submissions from the parties, the Court is of the view that the Company's contention that the claim is cost-increasing and, accordingly, concession would be in breach of the terms of PCW, is correct.
The Court, accordingly, does not recommend concession of the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th July, 1996______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.