INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
IRISH BISCUITS LIMITED
- AND -
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
BAKERY & FOOD WORKERS' AMALGAMATED UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Re-hearing arising from Labour Court Recommendation No. LCR15456.
2. Irish Biscuits Limited manufactures a range of biscuit products under the "Jacobs" and "Bolands" label. It employs 700 full-time and 170 seasonal employees mainly at its Tallaght plant and 40 within Northern Ireland. The dispute between the parties involves a restructuring of the plant and was the subject of a Labour Court investigation. In LCR15456, which was issued on the 21st February, 1997, the Court recommended as follows:-
(1) The proposed grading structure payments to be:
Grade A £195.69
Grade B £230.00
Grade C £240.00
Grade D £267.12
(2) Earned income above the level of £22,361 to be bought out at 3 times the annual loss.
Both parties accepted the Court's recommendation and entered into negotiations to put it into operation. However, the Union subsequently queried the Company's method of calculating the new contract rates of £22,920 (current values). It claims that the amount should be £24,434 based on earnings derived from overtime performed on plant No.7 in addition to the structured hours available on plant No.4. The Union also wants the
increase to operate from the date of the agreement i.e. 6th April, 1997 and not
30th June, 1997 as implemented by the Company. The Company also agreed to "red circle" up to the highest value, but instead "red circled" to the average of the whole
The Company claims that the new contract rate of £22,920 is correct based on P60 earnings for 1992/93 and has "red circled" earnings up to this amount. It claims that it was accepted by both sides that the agreement would come into effect on the 30th June, 1997.
No agreement was possible between the parties on two issues (1) "1993 Guarantee Agreement" and (2) Date of implementation of Pay Increase. Both sides agreed to refer the matter back to the Labour Court for a definitive recommendation. A Court hearing was held on the 14th November, 1997.
3. 1. The Company has reneged on its guarantee to "red circle" up to the highest contract earnings.
2. The highest contract earnings should be £24,434 and not £22,920 as calculated by the Company.
3. The Company should have calculated earnings based on the structured hours for plant No.4 plus the overtime earnings from plant No.7.
4. The implementation date for the increase should be the 6th April, 1997 when the agreement was accepted and not the 30th June, 1997 as implemented by the Company.
4. 1. The 1993 restructuring agreement provided for; (a) an increase for lower graded operatives and; (b) the opportunity for higher graded operatives to avail of lower attendance and increased pensionable pay.
2. The updated values of the 1992/93 P60 incomes for the workers concerned are in every case less than the "red circled" sums of £22,920 (current values) provided for in LCR15456.
3. The implementation date of the new agreement was accepted by both sides as the 30th June, 1997.
4. Labour Court Recommendation LCR15456 was accepted at a general meeting of all the workers concerned.
Arising from LCR15456 the Court was asked to deal with 2 items on which the parties had failed to agree; (1) interpretation of 1993 Guarantee Agreement, (2) date of application of pay increases.
(1)1993 Guarantee Agreement:
The Court is satisfied that the 1993 Agreement dealt specifically with possible loss of earnings that might arise in the future. To that end the Guarantee Agreement was based on the 1992/93 P60 incomes. It was not a Guarantee based on future growth of earnings.
While individuals or groups may have earned more than the 1992/93 figure subsequently the Court is satisfied that the Company is meeting its obligations under the Agreement, in calculating the red circle sum on the basis it has used.
(2)Date of Implementation of Pay Increases:
Given the complexity of introducing an annualised hours arrangement, and the fact that on introduction while some employees would receive increases, others would be red circled, the Court is satisfied that the date of implementation was not unreasonable.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
22nd December, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.