INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
NATIONAL VEHICLE DELIVERIES LIMITED
- AND -
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
1. The payment of increments for apprentices.
2. The Company operates a workshop and compound in Rosslare Harbour, Co. Wexford, for the repair, storage and distribution of new cars. The dispute relates to the Company's policy of taking on candidates for apprenticeships on the basis of a pre-apprenticeship training period of up to 6 months, and refers in particular to the payment of 2nd year apprenticeship rates to 4 apprentices. The apprenticeship is relatively new and is a standard FAS-based one. The Company claims that its policy allows it to assess workers for suitability for apprenticeship to a course that lasts up to 6 years. The Union has a difficulty with the principle of a pre-apprenticeship period, and views it as inequitable that the 4 apprentices would not go onto the 2nd year rate until 18 months after their date of employment. The issue was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, following which agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 15th of July 1996.
3. 1. The workers concerned were never told that their apprenticeships would not start until they had completed 6 months' work experience. That the Company chose to pay the 4 apprentices the first-year rate is recognition that they were, in fact, employed as apprentices from their starting dates, as were all previous apprentices.
2. There is no basis or reason for the Company to change the custom and practice which has operated in the past.
3. There is no evidence that the practice of discontinuing periods of employment for the purposes of determining starting dates for apprenticeships existed in any other company employing apprentices. Nor has FAS insisted on pre-apprenticeship training periods.
1. In order to assess new employees properly, it is necessary to have a three to six month trial period before commencing an apprenticeship. Even with this length of trial period the Company is experiencing problems with regard to apprentices' suitability.
2. Each apprentice was spoken to personally by the Company on the commencement of his employment and was advised that he would not start his apprenticeship until the assessment was passed.
3. When a worker is found to be suitable for apprenticeship, he is presented with a registration form which has been completed by his employer, where applicable. This form already contains the date of commencement of training before it is given to the apprentice. At no time did any of the apprentices query this date.
4. The Company operates to the highest standard and must be very careful in choosing its staff with regard to suitability to the trade.
The Court, having considered all information before it, recommends that the claimants be recognised for their apprenticeships from date of employment, as applied heretofore in the Company.
The Court further recommends that, in future, apprenticeships apply from date of employment on the clear understanding that a 6 month probationary period exists, during which the Company will assess the individuals, before confirming apprenticeship.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th July, 1996______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.