INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
PRINTCRAFT COMPUTERPRINT LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH PRINT UNION
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
GRAPHICAL PAPER AND MEDIA UNION
1. Compensation for loss of shift premium.
2. In October, 1995, the Company announced that the 1996 Summer Holiday Schedule was to take place during 4 weeks from 19th July, 1996. Fifty per cent of the workers would take leave during the first two weeks and the remainder during the second two weeks. All shift workers would be taken off shift and assigned to day work for the two weeks during the holiday period that they would be working. The workers would receive shift premium for their holidays, but not for the two weeks on day work. The Unions claim that this is a breach of the Registered Employment Agreement and that the workers should be compensated for the loss of shift premium. The Company claims that, by giving notice more than two weeks in advance, it complies with the Agreement and, therefore, no compensation should be paid.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on 26th February, 1996. As agreement could not be reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on 25th April, 1996 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 29th May, 1996.
3. 1. The Company would have been in breach of the Registered Employment Agreement if it had stated that shift premium would not be paid for the period of the workers' holidays. It is, therefore, attempting to circumvent the Agreement by not paying shift premium for either 2 weeks before, or after, the workers' holidays.
2. It is unfair to penalise staff who have worked shift work on a permanent basis for many years while supervisors, managers and some night shift workers will not be affected by the Company's decision.
4. 1. Section 10 of the Registered Employment Agreement states that employers must give either two weeks notice of intent to change workers from day work to shift or from shift to day work, or must compensate employees by paying the value of two weeks shift premium in lieu of notice. Nine months notice has been given, therefore, the Agreement has been complied with.
2. The Unions' claim is against the spirit and intent of the Agreement and, if their claim is successful, could have wide-ranging repercussions throughout the industry. Any changes to Section 10 would require a change to the Registered Employment Agreement.
Having considered the submissions from the parties, the Court has concluded that the Company's position viz. a viz. the Registered Employment Agreement is correct and, accordingly, the Union case cannot be sustained.
The Court recognises that the workers involved will suffer a drop in income for the 2 weeks concerned, but is of the view that it cannot recommend concession of the claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th June, 1996______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.