AN CHUIRT OIBREACHAIS
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 32, INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1946
THE ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS' ASSOCIATION
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGrath
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Alleged breach of Clause 19 of the Registered Employment Agreement (REA) for the Electrical Contracting Industry.
2. The dispute concerns a claim by the employers that the Union is in breach of Clause 19 of the Registered Employment Agreement (REA) for the Electrical Contracting Industry.
The Union claims that under the "Analogue Agreement" concluded in 1994 its members are entitled to the revised rates of pay as set out in that agreement from the 1st January, 1997. It is also seeking retrospection effective from that date. The Union rejects the claim that it is in breach of Clause 19 of the REA.
The Employers claim that the strike notice served by the Union was in breach of the REA. It also claims that the new rates which it has proposed are inclusive of the Meal & Tool allowance and effective from 1st May, 1997. It will also pay £150.00 in lieu of retrospection in two moieties, August, 1997 and Christmas, 1997.
The Union rejected the above proposals.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 16th May, 1997 in accordance with Section 32 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1946. The Court investigated the dispute on the 21st May, 1997.
3. 1. The Union claims that it has a four year agreement and that retrospection should be paid from 1st January, 1997.
2. The employers are reneging on the terms of the "Analogue Agreement".
3. The Union will not accept an increase being spread over a number of years.
4. The Court should uphold the integrity of the Analogue Agreement.
4. 1. The employers claim that the Union is in breach of the REA by serving strike notice on its members.
2. Partnership 2000 provides that no cost increasing claims for improvements in pay or conditions of employment (other than those provided for) should be made or processed during the currency of the Agreement.
3. The employers claim that there is intense competition in the electrical contracting sector, especially from Northern Ireland based firms, who do not pay the rates and conditions of employment provided for in the REA.
4. Member companies will not be able to pay retrospection as costs involved in work already completed or underway will not be recoverable.
5. Any concession to the electricians in excess of the terms of Partnership 2000 would trigger knock-on claims for other trades in the construction industry.
The Court has fully considered all of the issues raised by the parties in their oral and written submissions.
The Court notes the threat of industrial action has been deferred pending the exhaustion of the procedures. The Court regrets this action was threatened prior to the full use of the procedures. The Court finds this course was not helpful and not conducive to developing a good industrial relations climate.
The Court finds that an agreement was made by the parties in 1994 which included arrangements to examine the basic rate of pay with reference to the jointly accepted selection of employments. The examination to take place in the context of addressing slippage. Any increase resulting to be implemented on January 1st 1997. The results of this examination and accordingly the pay rises set out below are not additions to agreed National Agreements made between the Social Partners.
The Court notes that in the event the results of the examination and report were not issued until 10 April 1997.
In all the circumstances including the above, the contractual difficulties of the industry and the fact that the review takes account of the P.C.W. period, the Court recommends that the amount due be paid in the following manner:
£14.50 with effect from 1 January 1997
£10.00 with effect from 1 December 1997
£8.52 with effect from 1 September 1998
The parties recognising some of the difficulties outlined above should agree how the retrospective element of the payment should be made.
The further analogue review should be carried out following the payment of the final phase outlined above. The parties in the interim should agree the manner in which the results of the examination are to be applied.
The Court would urge the parties to ensure the review is completed and the results agreed in such time as will ensure no issue of retrospection arises.
The Court does not consider the consolidation of the £5.00 meal and tool allowance due on the 1 July 1997 is part of the review payment. This payment should be made separately.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
5th June, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Order should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.