INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CAREY BROTHERS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Walsh
1. Review of clerical rates of pay.
2. The Company is involved in the processing of glass for the world market. Its best known product is insulated glass glazed units marketed under the brand name "vista therm". The claim by the Union is for an improved rate of pay on behalf of 20 clerical workers
Following an agreement in July, 1983, the wage scales for junior and senior clerical workers were as follows:-
Pt. 0 £60.00 Pt. 0 £ 90.00
1 £67.50 1 £ 97.50
2 £75.00 2 £105.00
3 £82.50 3 £112.50
4 £85.00 4 £120.00
5 £87.50 5 £127.50
The Company subsequently merged the 2 scales and the present clerical rate is a 10 point scale, with point 1 being £126.91 per week (£6,599.32 per annum) and point 10 being £252.10 per week (£13,109.20 per annum).
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and two conciliation conferences took place on 29th May, 1996 and 10th July, 1996. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on 30th October, 1996 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 18th December, 1996, in Limerick.
3. 1. The Company unilaterally amalgamated the junior and senior scales. This resulted in substantial savings for it, as it meant that all new entrants started on the minimum point of the scale, regardless of qualifications which clearly benefited the Company. Under the old system, new entrants would have started on point 1 of the senior scale and would be on the maximum of the scale after 5 years. It now takes workers 10 years to reach the maximum point.
2. The Company has diversified into a number of different products in recent years. This means that the workers have to familiarise themselves with all aspects of the Company's business. Workers have co-operated at all times with the introduction of new technology and have made a significant contribution to the profitability of the Company. The present pay scale is too long and does not represent the skills and expertise of the workers involved. There would be no repercussive claims from other grades.
4. 1. The Company has invested heavily in new machinery to produce its products. Most of this machinery is sourced in Austria and Germany. The current pay scale is based upon that which was agreed with the Union in 1983. The junior and senior scales were assimilated for administration purposes. All national wage agreements have been paid since 1983.
2. The Company is trading in a very competitive market. Labour costs account for 29% of turnover. The emerging markets from eastern Europe and Russia are a serious threat, as labour costs are much lower in these areas. All raw materials are sourced outside of Ireland, and the Company's only hope of competing is through its marketing ability and competitive wage rates. The introduction of a new computer system in 1994 has simplified a number of tasks for the clerical workers and is not grounds for a wage increase as claimed by the Union.
The Court has considered the written submission of the parties to this dispute and the verbal responses made to parties arising during the hearing.
It is noted that the Union is of the view that concession of the claim will not create repercussive claims.
The Court recommends that the commitment of the clerical staff to the changes should be recognised by an alteration to the pay scale.
It is the Court's recommendation that the Company eliminate the first point of the scale and add a point to the top, giving a maximum of £13,700 per annum.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st January, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.