INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
BOXMORE PLASTICS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. (1) Pay for print jobs, (2) shift work/job description of a worker.
2. The Company was established in 1961 and is involved in the manufacture of blow-moulded plastic containers. It employs 200 people.
Issue 1:- The Company operates a 3-shift system and employs one print-setter on each shift. There is also a stand-by print-setter who is used in the event of absences or holidays. The dispute concerns three workers whom the Company has trained to assist the print-setters in tool changes on occasions. The relief print-setter is paid a 27% differential and the Union wants the three workers concerned to be paid the same amount for the time they are assisting the print-setters. The Company's view is that the work being done by the three workers is not sufficient to deserve the differential.
Issue 2: There were initially 2 workers involved but one has since left the Company. The remaining worker was employed on day work as a preventative maintenance fitter. He was changed to shift work against his wishes. Since referral to the Court, the worker has been transferred back to day work.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place on 12th June, 1996. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 6th December, 1996, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 16th April, 1997, in Cavan.
3. 1. Issue 1: Other employees who are trained in the print-setting process are paid the 27% differential. If two printers are in operation at the same time the assistant print setter is left in charge of a machine. The training received by the three workers is the same as that of the relief print-setter. The claim is that the three workers be paid for their time assisting on the printers only.
Issue 2: The worker concerned had his job description and conditions of employment changed without discussion or agreement. The second worker who left the Company did so because he was changed to shift work. The Union is seeking that, in future, prior consultation and agreement will be required in regards to substantial changes in work practices.
4. 1. Issue 1: The print-setters have full responsibility for the printing process (details supplied to the Court). The three workers who assist them do so only during the tool changeover period and when 2 machines are running. They do not carry out the range of duties performed by the print setters. A Company/Union Agreement in 1992 emphasised the need for flexibility to meet the demands of business. The claim is cost-increasing and is debarred under the National Agreements.
Issue 2: Clause 15 of the Company/Union Agreement states:-
"Due to the nature of the business it may be necessary to work shift patterns. It shall be a condition of employment that all employees will work shift as and when required."
It is necessary, if the Company is to remain competitive, that workers are employed where they are required.
The Court, having considered the submissions from the parties, recommends as follows:-
1. Pay for print jobs - The Court recommends that a premium of 15% be paid to the three claimants when they are required to assist on the printing machines.
2. The Court notes that the Advisory Service of the Labour Relations Commission has recently issued a report on the general state of industrial relations in the Company. In the course of the parties discussions on that report, the question of consultation as requested by the Union should be addressed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th April, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.