INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
VIRGIN CINEMAS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. (a) Projection room manning; (b) Special days.
2. Virgin Cinemas commenced operations in Ireland in 1995. It operates a nine screen (Multi-Plexus) cinema in Dublin and employs 15 full-time staff; 50 part-time; 4 managers and 4 projectionists. Prior to the opening of the cinema in 1995 the Company and the Union negotiated an agreement on terms and conditions of employment.
Projection Room Manning:
The Union claims that the current manning levels (4) in the projection room is inadequate to meet demands at certain times e.g. sick leave, holidays etc. It claims that there should be another projectionist appointed to act as standby as the need arises.
The Company states that notwithstanding the 1995 agreement, it was willing to train one of its non-projectionist staff to act as relief in the projection room as required. However, that person would be required to do other duties in the cinema.
The Union rejected the Company's proposal and claims that it would only agree to a fully trained and appointed projectionist to act as relief cover.
The Union claims that "Special Days" such as Holy Thursday; Good Friday; and Christmas Eve should be paid at double time plus a day-off in lieu which is one of the long standing traditions within the industry.
The Company rejects the Union's claim in relation to time-off for working "Special Days" and states that the Union should adhere to the 1995 Agreement which provided for payment at double time for those rostered to work on "Special Days".
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 12th May, 1997 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 20th August, 1997 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 28th October, 1997.
PROJECTION ROOM MANNING:
3. 1. There should be an extra full-time projectionist employed to cater for the increased work load in the projection room and also to cover for annual leave and illness when it arises.
2. The Union's members are experiencing an increased level of stress as a result of projectionists having to work long periods in a single manning situation because there is no relief staff employed.
3. The level of stress experienced by members is reflected in the high turnover of staff in the projection room area.
4. In other 'Multi-Plexus' such as Blanchardstown, Coolock and Tallaght up to five and six projectionists are employed.
4. 1. As part of the 1995 Company/Union agreement, compensation was paid for the introduction of single manning operations in the projection room.
2. The Company is prepared to train one of its non-projectionist staff to act as relief in the projection room. Management is in favour of multi-skilling and consider their proposal as being reasonable.
3. The Company operates a policy of single projection manning as the norm within the Group. It operates 29 cinemas both here and in the U.K. and only one operates with more than four projectionists.
4. Management has assigned non-projectionist work to contractors and other staff which has freed an extra 14 hours per week for projectionists.
5. The Company must be allowed to determine its own manning and operational levels in accordance with the efficient management of the cinema.
5. 1. The Union is seeking double time plus a day off in lieu for staff rostered to work on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, or Christmas Eve.
2. Agreements in the cinema industry, going back to the 1960's, always recognised Holy Week as being "special".
3. It was always custom and practice in the industry for workers to be compensated, as claimed by the Union, in the event of having to work on "Special Days".
6. 1. The 1995, Company/Union agreement, provided for payment at double time for workers rostered to work on "Special Days". The Company is not prepared to deviate from that agreement.
2. The Company believes its pay rates adequately compensates its workers for working unsocial hours.
3. The Company operates in a very competitive market. It must keep costs down or it will lose out to its competitors.
4. The claim is a cost increasing one and is precluded under the terms of Partnership 2000.
The Court has considered the submissions of the parties and their verbal responses made at the hearing and recommends as follows:
(1)Projection Room Manning
The Court considers that the parties should meet to pursue the concept of structured training of staff to provide relief for projectionists as and when the need arises.
The Court notes that the existing agreement for special days is part of the overall Management/Union Agreement and does not consider that sufficient grounds exist to concede the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
6th November, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.