INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
UNION CAMP IRELAND
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Introduction of new technology in line with existing agreements.
2. The Company was established in 1981 to manufacture corrugated cases. It employs 130 at its plant at Ashbourne, Co. Meath.
The dispute before the Court concerns disagreement between the parties in relation to the interpretation of Clause 3 of the Company/Union agreement. The Company claims that under this clause of the agreement entitled the "Right to Manage" it is entitled to introduce new technology.
The Company claims that it has been seeking Union agreement to a programme for change since 1995. In its document entitled "Blueprint for Change" which was in addition to the existing agreement, the Company proposed the following:
(a) employee involvement
(d) use of new technology
(e) meal breaks
(f) shift handover
However, no agreement was reached on the Company's proposals and the document
"Blueprint for Change" was subsequently withdrawn by the Company.
The Union rejects the Company's interpretation of Clause 3 of the agreement. It claims that where major change is involved, prior agreement must be reached before new technology is introduced. In addition, the Union argue that the term "consultation" contained in Clause 3 has a wider meaning than just notifying the Union of proposed changes.
The Union also claims that negotiations should resume in relation to the document "Blueprint for Change" as a means of resolving the current dispute.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held on the 6th May, 1997 and the 12th May, 1997 respectively but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 9th June, 1997.
3. 1. The draft document "Blueprint for Change" includes a section on the use of new technology which would allow the Company introduce changes as required. Negotiations between the parties should resume on this document.
2. The Union rejects the claim that it is in breach of Clause 3 of the Company/Union agreement. The agreement provides for "consultation" and not "notification".
3. The Company is proposing major changes within the plant. The Union is seeking a £25.00 per week increase for its members for agreement on these changes.
4. All Union/Management agreements contain a "right to manage" clause. It is governed and limited by voluntary agreement in relation to all other clauses in that agreement such as - right to consultation; productivity bargaining etc.
4. 1. The Company claims that the Union is in breach of Clause 3 of the Company/Union agreement in relation to the introduction of new technology.
2. The Company is prepared to look at claims by the Union for the introduction of new technology once that technology is in place. This has always been the practice.
3. The Company's 1997 capital programme includes replacement of its main production unit which will cost £2.85m. The Union and employees were fully consulted in the matter.
4. There will be no job losses as a result of the new technology.
5. The Company operates in a very competitive market. The new technology will keep it competitive.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
It is the Court's interpretation of Clause 3 that the Company has the right to introduce new technology after full consultation.
However, it is the Court's Recommendation that the discussions on the Blueprint for Change should recommence and be finalised as soon as possible, as agreement, in the view of the Court, will substantially remove the difficulties that have arisen between the parties.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
13th June, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.