INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
VIRGINIA MILK PRODUCTS
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. (1) Rate for rest day working (2) Overtime rate from midnight to 8.00am (3) Shift rate for night shifts.
2. The Company is a subsidiary of Waterford Food Plc. It employs approximately 90 people, 25 of whom are members of the Union. The 3 issues involve a number of general operatives on shift work.
The Company operates a continuous 3-shift system with employees working 6 days on and 2 days off to provide 7 days a week cover. Saturday and Sundays are paid at overtime rates - time and one half for the first 2 hours on Saturday and double time for the remainder of Saturday and all day Sunday. The Company pays a 25% shift premium for day and evening shifts and 27% for the night shift. If a worker is required to work overtime, either before or after normal shift, between midnight and 8.00 a.m., the rate applied is time and one half.
Issue 1. The Union is seeking that employees who are required to work their rest days, other than Saturday and Sunday, should be paid at overtime rates. At present the Company is paying a flat rate.
Issue 2. The Union's claim is that employees required to work overtime between midnight and 8.00 a.m. should be paid double time instead of the current time and one half.
Issue 3. The Union is seeking that 12 workers who operate the night shift should be paid at 33 and one third per cent shift premium instead of the present 27%.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place on 10th October, 1996. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on 6th December, 1996, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 16th April, 1997 in Cavan.
3. 1. Issue 1. The payment of time and one half/double time paid for Saturday and Sunday was agreed between the Company and Union to compensate for 7 day working, and not as an overtime payment. Employees who work their rest day should be paid at an overtime rate.
2. Issue 2. Workers in the Company other than general operatives - e.g. fitters - who are required to work between midnight and 8.00 a.m. receive double time. General operatives should receive the same payment.
3. Issue 3. The 12 workers on night shift should be paid 33 and one third per cent shift rate because of the unsociable aspects of the job combined with 7 day working. The Company's competitors, such as Abbot Ireland Limited, pay a higher basic rate plus 33 and one third shift differential for 7 day working.
4. 1. Issue 1. Employees work an average of 42 hours per week. With the overtime rates applicable for Saturday/Sunday, workers are paid an average of 53 hours for every 42 hours worked. This system is more beneficial to the workers than those operated by the vast majority of employers in the industry.
2. Issue 2. The Company already pays a 25% shift premium for workers on morning and evening shifts, plus time and one half if workers are required to work between midnight and 8.00 a.m. Taken in conjunction with the overtime rates for Saturday/Sunday, the Company cannot afford to pay more.
3. Issue 3. The rate of 27% was agreed as recently as September 1994 for the night shift premium. The 3 Union claims are cost-increasing and, as such, are debarred under the National Agreements.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions of the parties, believes that the payment structure is both complicated and unusual. The Court has some sympathy for the claim as presented in relation to the rest-day payment. However, in view of the length of time this pattern is established, and as the claim is cost increasing, it is debarred by the terms of the PCW and Partnership 2000.
The Court further considers that the claims in relation to overtime working through midnight, and for an increase on the night shift allowance, are also contrary to the no-cost increase clauses of the PCW and Partnership 2000, and the Court does not recommend their concession.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
2nd May, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.