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 Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Walsh
1. Rates of pay.
2. Peamount Industries operates within the framework of Peamount Hospital. It is part of the occupational therapy workshops for the mentally handicapped. The Company buys raw board which is cut and then assembled into boxes. Different aspects of this work are undertaken by the residents. The purpose of the activity is to provide stimulation and training for the mentally handicapped. The Company is a non profit making organisation and is registered as a charity.
The Company's rates of pay are structured at 84% of the Eastern Health Board hospital attendant rate. The pay scales were agreed with the union (FWUI) in 1987. The rates of pay have been adjusted over the years by the various national wage agreements.
The Union claims that the rates of pay are out of line with the industry norm. It is seeking to have the rates of pay appropriate to the printing industry applied to the workers involved in the particular section of the Company. The Company rejected the Union's claim.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 23rd of August, 1996 but no agreement was possible. It was agreed to refer the dispute to the Labour Court under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 13th February, 1997.
3. 1. The Union is seeking an increase in the rates of pay to bring them into line with the rates of pay applicable in comparable employment.
2. While part of the Company is a sheltered workplace for adults with Down Syndrome it is separate/different from the work performed by the members in this case.
3. Complaints have been received from other companies concerning the competitive advantage allowed to Peamount Industries as a result of its lower rates of pay.
4. The claim is a reasonable one and should be conceded by the Company.
5. Any recommendation to increase the rates of pay should also apply to supervisors to maintain their percentage differential which currently exists with that of the general operative grade.
4. 1. The present industry rates are not applicable in this particular case. This is a sheltered workshop which operates as a non profit making enterprise.
2. There was a Union agreement in 1987 setting the rates of pay at 84% of the Eastern Health Board's rates.
3. The rates of pay and conditions of employment are fair and reasonable and are in line with comparable employment elsewhere. IBEC's "Survey of Pay and Conditions" for 1996 confirms this.
4. The Company made an offer of a £5.00 increase at conciliation which is in line with increases in the Health Board, but it was rejected.
5. Any further increases in pay could put the viability of the operation at the centre at risk.
6. The claim is cost-increasing and is debarred under the terms of both the Programme for Competitiveness and Work (PCW) and Partnership 2000.
The Court having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties is of the view that this claim is debarred under the PCW.
The Court therefore cannot concede the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th February, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.