INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
1. Loss of shift.
2. Following a rationalisation plan, proposals which emanated from the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) in December, 1995 were agreed by both parties. Clause 5 of the Agreement states that loss of earnings arising from the rationalisation plan will be compensated by payment of 1.5 times the annual loss. The loss would be calculated by reference to a comparison between average gross annual earnings in 1993, 1994 and 1995 and annual gross earnings in the year April 1996 to April 1997.
Four workers were asked to move from milling duties to warehouse duties. As a result, they moved from shift work to day work and lost their shift allowance (20% of basic pay). The Union sought payment of 18 months loss of shift differential for the 4 workers.
Following a further meeting with the LRC, the Company agreed to a proposal in which two of the workers would receive 12 months loss of differential and two workers would receive 6 months loss of differential. The balance, as claimed by the Union, would be referred to the Labour Court.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on 9th August, 1996 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 8th October, 1996.
3. 1. The Company initially stated that the compensation was only for direct loss of earnings, not for shift allowance. The workers concerned were not keen to move to day work. Following a meeting between the then Union official and management, it was agreed that the workers would be compensated with payment of 1.5 times the loss. The workers would not have moved otherwise.
2. Loss of shift allowance is consistent with a loss of earnings and is covered by the conciliation agreement . The four workers are agreeable to return to the milling house when necessary to complete any work there. Workers in the past have received compensation for loss of shift allowance.
4. 1. The compensation offered by the LRC's most recent proposals is more than reasonable. There is a possibility of further shift opportunities for the workers, due to the nature of the business. Two of the claimants were only on temporary shift work and could not be compensated by 18 months' loss. Some of the workers concerned have increased earning opportunities by working in the stores area.
2. The loss of earnings formula agreed in December, 1995 envisaged any loss of earnings which arose from loss of shift. The Union is trying to circumvent the formula already agreed.
Taking into account all aspects of this case, the Court recommends as a means of resolving this issue that the payments made of 12 months and 6 months, per the Industrial Relations Officer's letter of 16th July, be excluded from the gross earnings calculations when assessing compensation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21th October, 1996______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.