INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ORMOND PRINTING COMPANY LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH PRINTING FEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Application of 3% increase on basic rate.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns the application of a 3% payment for flexibility to 8 members of the Union's Irish Women Workers' Branch (IWWB).
In October, 1995 the Labour Court issued Recommendation No.14949 in which the Court recommended that the Union accept the Company's offer as outlined in its letter of the 1st of September, 1995. The Court's Recommendation was accepted by the Union and the Company applied an increase of 3% off scale. It claims that this was the basis on which the offer was made.
The Union argues that the Company's document offer referred to a 3% productivity/flexibility enhancement on basic rate.
Local level discussions failed to resolve the issue and the matter was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement could not be reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 10th of September, 1997 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 14th November, 1997.
3. 1. At all times throughout the negotiations on the Company's restructuring plan it was clearly understood by those involved, that whatever the percentage increase agreed, it would be applied on the basic rate of pay.
2. In its letter of the 1st of September 1995 the Company stated:
"The Company is prepared to put the offer of 3% on the basic rate back on the table for Bindery and QC Personnel, in return for the following flexibility etc..."
3. To pay the 3% other than on the basic rate of pay reduces its value particularly in the content and context of overtime.
4. Similar agreements have been concluded with other companies in the Printing Industry with varying amounts agreed, all of which have been applied to the basic rate of pay. One such company being a sister company of the Ormond Printing Company. This company paid a higher percentage than the 3% involved in this case, and it was applied on the basic rate.
5. The Union's case is reasonable, given the content and context of the company's letter of the 1st of September 1995, and subsequent developments in other companies. In the circumstances the Union requests the Court for a favourable recommendation.
4. 1. The payment in dispute is being paid off line as per the recommendation of the Labour Court which ruled that the Company's letter of the 1st of September 1995 should be accepted in full by IWWB. The Company's offer always intended to enhance the current flexibility payment and was never presented as an increase on basic rate.
2. At all times when the Company talked about a payment of increased flexibility in the bindery it did so in the context of and in addition to the £8.61 already being paid. This payment was off line and attracted no extras. A similar payment was paid to Branch 16 members. They have never considered the payment to be other than as off line.
3. The Company is satisfied that both the IWWB representatives and its members were aware of the methodology of the payment. This is evidenced by the Union's quoted reference to this interpretation on page 8 of its submission dated the 4th of October, 1995 to the Labour Court. "Our claim for 10% increase on basic rate to include the current £8.61 is not unreasonable". This clearly shows that the Union was of the view that this agreement was an extension of the £8.61 and as such was intended to be paid in the same manner i.e. off line.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by both parties.
While the Court notes that page 3 of the Company letter of the 1st September 1995 is open to different interpretations on the payments of 3%, it is clear from page 1 no. 2 of the same letter how the increase would be paid.
The Court is satisfied that the offer was made on the basis of the increase being made to the existing rate of £8.61 and would be paid off line.
The Court therefore does not recommend concession of the Union claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
2nd December, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.