INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
IRISH BAKELS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
BAKERY & FOOD WORKERS AMALGAMATED UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. (1) Redundancy terms; (2) Rate of pay for general operatives; (3) Residual issue - Paperwork.
2. Irish Bakels Ltd., is part of the Bakels Group of Companies, but operates as a stand alone Company, with its own directors. It supplies baking ingredients specifically to the Irish baking industry and currently employs 14 people. The Company has operated in Dublin for over fifty years.
It announced its intention to close its production facility from mid-October, 1997 with the loss of 4 jobs. The proposed production closure resulted from the Company's trading difficulties over the last number of years but , in particular, over the first seven months of 1997. The Company agreed that selection for redundancy would be on a voluntary basis.
The redundancy terms on offer were unacceptable to the Union's members. The Company offered new contracts of employment at a salary of £15,000 per year to general operatives in the warehouse, and this was also unacceptable.
The Union claimed that an outstanding issue in relation to "paperwork" would have to be addressed before an overall agreement could be reached .
The Company put forward proposals to resolve the dispute as follows:- (a) Redundancy terms - statutory entitlements plus 2.5 weeks' pay per year of service with a ceiling of £320; (b) to issue new contracts of employment at £15,000 per year to each general operative in the warehouse; (c) Paperwork- The Company put forward the 2% local bargaining element to resolve this particular issue.
The dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held on the 3rd of September, 1997 and 26th of September, 1997 at which no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 29th of September, 1997 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 22nd of October, 1997.
3. 1. The Union is seeking six weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory entitlements for those workers being made redundant.
2. The employees concerned have given the Company loyal service over the years. The range of service of the employees is from 15 years to 29 years service.
4. 1. The Company's offer of statutory entitlements plus 2.5 weeks' pay per year of service with a ceiling of £320 is generous and should be accepted.
2. The Company operates in a very competitive market. It must keep costs down or it will not survive.
3. The Company is not in a financial position to improve on the redundancy terms already on offer.
Rate of pay for general operatives (2)
5. 1. The salary scale of £15,000 per annum per general operative would represent a substantial drop in earnings for the employees concerned.
2. The workers were in receipt of a monthly bonus which brought their earnings to more than £15,000.
6. 1. The salary scale of £15,000 per employee is approximately 10% more than their previous salary scale.
2. The rate of pay for general operatives is above the average for similar type work within the industry.
3. Any rate above the proposed level would result in an excessive wage structure for the Company at a time when it is trying to reduce costs.
Residual issue- paperwork:
7. 1. The Union is seeking the payment of backmoney due to employees being requested to maintain more detailed paperwork/invoicing in relation to their work.
2. This issue has been ongoing for some time and the Union wants it resolved as soon as possible.
8. 1. The completion of production reports is an essential element of any production operative's duties.
2. Certain paperwork duties have now been transferred to the supervisor and factory manager.
3. The Company believes that there is no basis for this claim.
Having considered the submissions from the parties the Court recommends as follows on the 3 items in dispute.
(1) Severance terms:- 4.5 weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory with a cap of £350.
(2) Warehouse Operatives: - A revised annual rate of £15,000 p.a. as offered plus a sum of £4,000 as compensation for loss of earnings.
(3) The Court finds no basis for recommending concession of this claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31st October, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.