INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
APPLE COMPUTER LIMITED
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Brennan
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Introduction of Automated Time Management System.
2. Apple Computer Limited is a subsidiary of Apple Computer Incorporated of America. It employs 1,500 workers in the manufacture of computer products for supply to the European market. It is located in Cork.
In May, 1996 management informed the Union of its intention to introduce a Time, Safety, Security, Payroll (TSSP) system.
The current arrangement involves employees recording, on a weekly basis, the time at which they arrive and depart from their place of work. The Company now propose that employees swipe in on arrival and departure from the site.
Local level discussions took place following which the Union sought some form of ongoing benefit (under the following headings) in return for acceptance of the Company's proposal:-
(i) basic pay;
(ii) pension scheme;
(iii) Christmas/holiday bonus;
(iv) on site cr�che facilities.
The Company is opposed in principle to paying any form of ongoing payment in respect of its proposals. It argues that no new practices are being proposed and that its proposal relates to the automation of existing manual practices.
The matter was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference took place on the 5th March, 1997. As agreement could not be reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on 7th March, 1997 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place in Cork on 28th May, 1997.
3. 1. The proposed introduction of a clock-in system is a major change in existing work practices and is viewed by the workers as a serious threat to the high levels of trust built up over many years.
2. The Union is concerned that the clock-in system will be used by management to impose a stricter code of discipline in relation to time-keeping, as it will take away the discretionary powers now exercised by individual supervisors in relation to same.
3. The loss of these discretionary powers will mean that all lates, however minimal, will be recorded in the workers' personal file and could affect their promotion prospects.
4. It is difficult for the Union to accept the Company's response that it is opposed in principle to paying any form of compensation to secure the workers co-operation. The workers are opposed in principle to the practice of clocking-in. They did not request this change and wish to continue the present practice of time-keeping that has existed for 17 years.
5. If both parties adopt principled stances on every issue in dispute, the Company is unlikely to achieve in the future the type of changes which have taken place over the past 17 years in terms of new technology, new working practices, increased flexibility and other changes which has made the Cork plant the most efficient Apple plant in the world.
4. 1. The Company's proposal relates to the automation of existing manual practices. No new practices are being proposed. The existing process is time-consuming, transactionally intensive and inefficient. This technology when in use will simply eliminate the existing inefficient manual system.
2. It is envisaged that all employees at all levels within the Company would use the system. Apple's management team, including the site Director, together with its non-unionised and contract employees, have been using the system since September, 1996. This phased introduction was completed for these employees in January, 1997.
3. Prior to installing the system, a comprehensive communication process was undertaken with all employee groups. Feedback and queries were addressed with employees over a period of nine months approximately. Discussions were undertaken with the Union on the matter and the Company is presently unaware of any issues/concerns that the Union has in relation to the system.
4. Employees are not disadvantaged through the use of the automated system. In the circumstances it is unreasonable for them not to co-operate in the same way as other employees in the Company.
5. The Company should not be expected to incur any additional cost burden for the introduction of this automated system. Similar systems have been implemented in many other companies without such a response from the trade unions.
In examining the issue in dispute the Court was conscious of the recent past problems in the Company which resulted in the employees accepting many changes.
The Court is satisfied that the proposal to introduce Automated Time Management System would not have met the resistance it did except for the historical reasons.
In all the circumstances the Court recommends as follows:-
(1) The Union accept the implementation of ATMS.
(2) The two sides meet to discuss and agree the location of
(3) As indicated at the hearing by the Company that no further extension
of the system be envisaged.
(4) An agreed method of excusing "infringements" be initiated.
(5) "Clocking" in and out be at commencement and finish of shift
(6) In recognition of the employees co-operation the Company agree
to 1 extra days holidays (8 hours) in 1997.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd June, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.