INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGrath
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Claim by the Union for a review of: (1) the salary scale and (2) the shift rate.
2. Fexco was established in 1981 and is a financial services and teleservicing company involved in a wide range of activities including Bureau de Change, Vat Refund facilities, World Wide Money Transfers (Western Union), Data Processing, etc. In 1989 the Company was awarded the contract to computerise the Prize Bonds system. The Company employs 177 workers in Killorglin and 31 in Dublin. It also employs a number of temporary workers. In 1992 the Company and the Union concluded an agreement which provided for a £5.00 per week increase plus an annual bonus of £150. In 1996 the Union submitted its claim. The Company rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 6th August, 1996. Agreement was not possible and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 30th October, 1996. A Court hearing was held in Tralee on the 3rd December, 1996.
3. 1. The Union has sought to secure a properly negotiated salary structure on behalf of the workers concerned for many years and has experienced significant difficulties in its dealings with Management.
2. The workers are highly qualified, and skilled. They operate in a very technological industry and are in receipt of modest salaries. The Union is seeking a salary scale of £10,000 to £17,000 by 7 increments plus a shift allowance of 25% together with discussions on all the grades. It is not sufficient that the Company has paid the increases due under National Wage Agreements. The Company cannot justify its rejection of the claim on the basis of the PCW and the 1992 agreement.
3. The 1992 agreement was concluded when only 11 workers were in membership and was not implemented in the case of some workers. A significant number of workers are now in membership. They are very disappointed with Management's lack of will to negotiate the claim.
4. 1. The Company is not a banking institution. It cannot afford to pay banking salaries and terms and conditions of employment. Labour costs account for 55% of total costs and must be kept under control.
2. The 1992 agreement, accepted by both sides, provided that no further monetary claims would be made during the currency of the National Agreements.
3. There is no justification for the Union's claim on the grounds of its increased membership. The Company afforded sole negotiating rights to SIPTU and the agreement of 1992 cannot be circumvented.
4. The Company has applied the first two phases of the PCW and will abide by the terms of that agreement.
5. The Union's claims are cost increasing and are precluded by Clause 6 of the PCW.
6. In accordance with the terms of the PCW the Company has indicated that it will consider the introduction of a defined contributory pension scheme in 1997. This will add 4.5% to payroll costs.
7. The Company faces serious issues which could impact adversely on its future growth. The Bureau de Change business will come under serious threat with the advent of the single currency. Its prize bond income is based on a fixed term contract, and its Western Union business is based on a fixed rate per transaction. The Company does not have any scope to pass on increased labour costs to third parties.
The Court has considered all of the issues raised by the parties in their oral and written submissions. Whilst the Court considers that the structure and salaries currently applying in the Company should be reviewed, in the light of the development of services and the adequacy of the structure and pay scales, the employees and the Company are covered by the terms of the PCW which precludes cost-increasing claims.
In the light of the above the Court recommends that, at the conclusion of the present agreement, the parties review the grading structure and salary scales.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.