INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
IRISH COUNTRY MEATS LIMITED - BALLYHAUNIS
(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. Dispute concerning:
1. The application of the final phase of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress (PESP) and the Programme for Competitiveness and Work (PCW).
2. Overtime payments.
2. The dispute relates to the Union's claim, on behalf of Boners at the Ballyhaunis plant for payment of the final phase of the PESP and the entire PCW in respect of price rates and the application of an overtime rate when boners were required to work after normal finishing time or week-ends. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and conciliation conferences were held in November, 1996 and January, 1997. Agreement was not possible and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 18th February, 1997. A Court hearing was held in Castlebar on 9th April, 1997.
3. 1. Agreement was reached in 1995 in relation to the payment of the PCW in both plants (Ballyhaunis and Ballaghadereen) but boners were excluded from the agreement.
2. The Company should honour the final phase of the PESP, and the entire PCW which expired for all other grades in the Company in February, 1997.
3. Any increase in take home pay by the boners has been achieved by way of increased productivity. This reaches an optimum level which is achieved by the workers on a regular basis.
4. The increases sought are small and were negotiated at national level.
4. 1. The Agreement in relation to the application of the PCW in the plant excludes the boners and workers on the killing and the lamb lines, the reason being that the rates which existed were too high in the industry.
2. Boners have received increases in excess of the PCW which were negotiated locally and directly with workers. This was the traditional way that boners in the plant negotiated on their own behalf.
3. The Company is in an extremely difficult trading position and is unable to sustain the cost of further increases.
5. 1. An overtime rate should be paid where work continues past normal finishing time before start time or at weekends. This would ensure ineffective time is kept to a minimum.
2. The Union is not claiming a straight overtime payment. However, some element of extra payment should be made to reflect work which has to be carried out after normal finishing time or on a Saturday.
3. The payment can be made by way of 1.5 times the piece rate on all work when a certain daily number is achieved. This number can be set by reference to the normal limits as devised by industrial engineers. The present system should be discontinued.
6. 1. The Company has never paid overtime to the boners and it does not intend to do so now.
2. It is not a feature of piece rate systems and the cost would be prohibitive.
3. The piece rate system pays a set rate for a particular job regardless of what time of day or night it is done.
The Court, having considered the written and verbal submissions of the parties, considers that the conditions applying to a measured incentive scheme differ radically with that of piecework scheme (rate fixed) and are not interchangeable.
The Court notes that the present piecework scheme is the agreed scheme between the parties and the Court is not required to consider the value of one against the other.
Nevertheless, there are problems which arise from the use of piecework systems particularly as regards to allowing for earnings to be increased to take account of cost of living increases.
The Court recommends that the parties meet to put in place mechanisms which will allow for a review of the fixed prices and take account of workers ability to keep abreast of changes in cost of living.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th May, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.