INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
UNIFI TEXTURED YARNS EUROPE
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGrath
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Dispute concerning work standards.
2. The Company manufactures polyester yarn at its plant in Letterkenny and employs approximately 750 workers. The Company/Union agreement includes a provision that individual work standards would be at a level of 90 B.S.I. In February, 1997 the Company proposed adjustments to the standards for five specified jobs. The last major time study was carried out on those jobs in 1991. Standards were assigned to the five jobs based on those studies and they have been in operation since. The Company restudied the jobs and sought to put new standards in place. Management maintain that there have been significant changes in the operation of the business which warranted the revised standards. The Union rejected the Company's proposal on the basis that there was no substantial change to justify such rate or target change. The disptue was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 22nd of April, 1997. Agreement was not possible and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 9th of September, 1997. A Court hearing was held on the 15th of October, 1997.
3. 1. Under the Company's proposed changes the workload of the five employees concerned would be increased by approximately 15% without any corresponding increase in pay. It is well established practice in industry that established rates or targets are only changed if there is a method change to justify such adjustments.
2. The Company is in breach of Clause 8.5 and 8.6 of the plant agreement which provide that should methods substantially change a new standard will be developed. The Union contends that there had not been substantial change in the five jobs. Workers must be protected against unjustified or unfair rate or target changes.
3. The Union is agreeable to have its own Industrial Engineer check to ascertain if there is substantial change, to justify a rate/standard as proposed by the Company. This exercise could be completed quickly.
4. It is unfair of Management to attempt to force through changes in work standards/targets without proper justification. There must be proof of a substantial method change before any proposal to change established rates can be considered.
4. 1. Due to the continuous growth of the business since 1991 changes have taken place in the method for many jobs and because of these changes the five listed jobs are, at this time, below the agreed 90 rate. The regular review of work standards is beneficial to both workers and the Company.
2. In accordance with the Company/Union agreement the standards for these jobs were revised and put in place but were unacceptable to the Union.
3. The Company is agreeable to allow the disputed standards be checked by the Union's Industrial Engineer.
4. The European Textile Industry is under severe pressure from imports from developing countries. In order to counter this threat the Company must be as efficient and productive as possible.
The Court, having heard the views of the parties, finds that the standards should only have been changed where there was a change in labour, methods or materials or there has been a clerical error.
It is the contention of the Company that there have been changes in method which have resulted in the need to amend the standard.
In accordance with the agreement the Union should arrange for their Industrial Engineer to liaise with the Company's Industrial Engineer with a view to comparing the old and new standards, and agreeing the standard appropriate to the current work content.
This exercise to be completed within four weeks of the date of issue of this recommendation.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
4th November, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.