INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ANGLO IRISH BEEF PROCESSORS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Brennan
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Pay and conditions of employment.
2. The Union represents approximately fifty-five workers at the Company's plant in Waterford. The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union for the following:-
(a) To increase the basic rate of pay as follows:-
£160 per week for Probationers;
£200 per week for General Operatives;
£240 per week for skilled workers.
(b) Application of a 39 hour week;
(c) Overtime to be paid after 39 hours per week as follows:-
Monday - Friday time and a half from normal finish to midnight;
double-time after that;
Saturday - time and a half for first 4 hours;
(d) Introduction of a sick pay / pension scheme;
(e) An agreed procedure for redundancy and lay-off with due regard to seniority;
(f) The introduction of written contracts for all, and a safety audit;
(g) Discussions with the Company regarding the impact of the Working Time Directive.
The Union also claims that industrial relations at the plant are not good.
The Company refutes the allegations that industrial relations at the plant are not good. It also rejects the claims made by the Union and states that a majority of the issues complained of have not been fully discussed at local level and that they are more appropriate to group discussions. The plant in Waterford is part of a group of companies within the organisation. The Company claims that it has implemented the terms of successive National Agreements at all the plants, including Waterford. Since then, most of the plants have concluded self-financing arrangements over and above the basic terms of National Agreements to the mutual advantage of all concerned. This facility is available to employees at the Waterford plant if they wish to avail of it.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 23rd April, 1997 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 5th June, 1997 under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 27th June, 1997.
3. 1. The Company has failed to implement the full terms of the various national pay agreements.
2. The Company has also failed to properly apply the 39 hour week to employees.
3. The Company in 1990/91 appears to have made a decision to de-unionise the plant.
4. There was a hostile reaction to employees who rejoined the Union in November, 1996.
5. The Company has shown a cavalier attitude to procedures for handling grievances and disputes.
4. 1. The Company has applied all increases due under the various national agreements.
2. It has applied the 39 hour week in a fair and reasonable manner.
3. The Company will provide written contracts and apply the terms of the Working Time Directive to employees in line with the appropriate legislation.
4. The issue of Sick Pay/Pension schemes is more appropriate to group discussions with the group of unions.
5. The concept of lay-off or redundancy must be on the basis of retaining key skills, and the Company cannot accept the Union's proposal of last-in-first-out (LIFO) principle.
6. The employees concerned are paid more than the average rates of pay within the AIBP Group of Companies.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties and the subsequent correspondence provided by both sides.
Based on the contradictory arguments made and the written evidence presented it is very difficult for the Court to make a recommendation on the disputed issue of payment of increases under National Pay Agreements.
This is also the situation in relation to the application of the 39-hour week to employees, although the Court notes that a reconciliation document for year March 1996/1997 has been produced.
In relation to these two issues payment of national agreement increases and application of 39-hour week, it is the Court’s recommendation that the parties meet to discuss their positions, producing whatever evidence they each have to support their arguments.
If it is not possible to reach an agreement, then the Court recommends that an agreed third party e.g., the Irish Productivity Centre, be brought in to examine the details in relation to the employee’s pay and hours of work and to report to the Court, who will then make a recommendation.
The Court also believes that it should be possible for the parties to agree a wording to cover redundancies, that would protect the Company’s requirements to maintain certain skills, but also meet the Union’s interest in this matter.
The other issues, overtime premia, sick pay/pensions should be dealt with through the Union group.
Finally, the Court is concerned at the mistrust and bad industrial relations atmosphere that appears to prevail between the parties and would recommend that efforts are made to address this problem immediately, possibly with the help of the Advisory Service of the Labour Relations Commission.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
15th August, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.