INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
UNITED BEVERAGES LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Introduction of a bonus scheme.
2. The claim is on behalf of 36 of the Unions' process workers in the Dundalk plant. The Company also has a plant in Dublin.
The rate of pay for the Dundalk workers is £179.00 per week. The Unions claim that the rate for the Dublin workers is £265.54 plus £53.00 bonus per week. The bonus has now been amalgamated with the basic rate. The Unions claim that the rates of pay for both plants should be brought into line by introducing a bonus scheme in the Dundalk plant.
On 30th September, 1994, the parties agreed that an independent consultant would be engaged to determine the feasibility of introducing a self-financing bonus scheme. Employee Relations Services Limited (ERS) was engaged for the purpose.
The ERS report was released in April, 1995. It concluded that the best route for enhanced pay was the introduction of staggered morning start and tea breaks to improve production.
When it subsequently emerged that ERS was a subsidiary company of IBEC, the Unions indicated that they could not accept the totality of the report. The dispute was then referred to the Labour Relations Commission and three conciliation conferences took place. At the conferences, the Company offered to increase the differentials in exchange for staggered start/finish times and staggered tea breaks as follows:
present differential £4.20 pw £4.70 pw £2.10 pw
proposed differential £7.00 pw £7.00 pw £3.50 pw
The Unions rejected the proposals and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 5th September, 1996, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 10th January, 1997.
3. 1. There was a dramatic increase in the volume levels in the Dundalk plant by 1994. Employment levels only increased marginally. The Company expected full co-operation from the workers but was not prepared to respond to the claims for an increase in pay.
2. It was implicit in the Unions' agreement to the independent consultation by ERS in September, 1994, that past production by the workers would form part of the evaluation. Had the Unions known at the time that ERS was a subsidiary of IBEC they would not have agreed to its involvement. The workers involved are treated unfairly in comparison to their work colleagues in Dublin.
4. 1. At the meeting on 30th September, 1994, the Company was agreeable to explore the possibility of a self-financing bonus/productivity scheme. It made clear that this did not commit the Company in any way. From the outset, the Company made it clear that there was very little scope for a bonus/incentive scheme as the production output was dependent on the efficiency of the equipment used. If the Company were to invest in more efficient equipment it could lead to job losses.
2. The bonus scheme would only apply to a small number of workers and would create dissension among the remaining employees. The work in the Dublin plant is different and more complex than that in the Dundalk plant. The proposed staggered breaks are the only opportunity to produce a self-financing bonus scheme. A cost increasing scheme is prohibited under the current national agreement.
Having considered the submissions from the parties, the Court recommends that the Unions agree to staggered morning breaks, and in return the Company increase the differentials to £8 and £4 and adjust service pay to £3 per week after 20 years and £1 per week after 5 years.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
4th February, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.