INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CBR SERVICES 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 Walsh
1. Dispute concerning a pay increase for 9 workers.
2. The Company is UK based and carries out heavy industrial cleaning work, asbestos removal work, etc. It is acting as a sub-contractor to the main UK contractor engaged in the dismantling of the ESB power station at Portarlington. The Company employs 21 workers (12 U.K. and 9 local) who are employed in the removal of asbestos from the power station. The Company agreed terms and conditions of employment (including pay rates) with the workers prior to the commencement of the project. Following the unionisation of the 9 local workers in early October, 1996 the Union, on their behalf, submitted a claim for an increase of £2.60 in the hourly rate of pay. Management rejected the claim. Subsequently the Union served notice of industrial action on the Company. It was lifted pending the processing of the dispute through industrial relations procedures. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 22nd January, 1997. Agreement was not possible. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 28th January, 1997. A Court hearing was held on the 10th February, 1997.
3. 1. The workers concerned expected that the rate of £4.61 per hour for asbestos work and £3.63 for general work should be higher and eventually would be improved. It does not reflect or represent adequate and reasonable recompense for the nature of the work carried out by these employees.
2. The workers perform very onerous and different tasks for long periods in very
cumbersome pressurised suits. This type of work is different from anything general operatives normally undertake. Manual physical work carried out in these pressurised suits cannot be equated with other functions in which the same type suits are worn e.g. the technological industry.
3. The Company's offer of 80p per hour is unacceptable in view of the type of work undertaken. The Union's claim would represent a moderate cost to the Company. The Company's readiness to tender an offer of completion bonus would indicate its ability to cope with the issue of merit pay.
4. While the claim is in respect of the 9 workers currently employed, the original claim included a tenth worker whom the Union seeks to be included pro-rata to his period of employment.
4. 1. There is no specific market rate in Ireland for an asbestos removal operative. The rate applicable to all workers involved in the contract was normally £4.41 per hour. Through the use of a discretionary management arrangement (details to the Court) the effective rate amounted to £6.02 and £6.20 after 31st December, 1996. This compares very favourably with the C.I.F. rate of £4.86 for grade 4 labourers.
2. The Company has applied a pro-rata holiday entitlement of 5 weeks per year of service which is well in excess of that provided for under the legislation.
3. The workers signed up to stated terms and conditions of employment and were well aware of the type of work required of them. The Company has not reneged on any of those terms, yet the workers have sought to further enhance their terms and conditions. Even while the issue was being discussed the Company awarded all its workers on site a 3% wage increase.
4. While the Company considers that there is no provision for a review of this contract it proposed an increase of 80p per hour worked. The Company's offer is very significant yielding increases of 15.64% for times worked prior to 31st December, 1996 and 18.67% for times worked after that date.
5. The Company is prepared to make a settlement on the issue retrospective to the date of the employment as opposed to the date of the Union's claim.
The Court having considered the submissions recommends that the merit pay be increased to £1.15 per hour under the conditions as agreed between the parties.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th February, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.