INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
BANTRY TERMINALS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. (1) Pay Rates (2) Manning.
2. The Company was formed in 1986 as a semi-state company and is a subsidiary of Irish National Petroleum Corporation (INPC). In 1990, it was decided to use part of the oil storage facilities at the Terminal to hold part of the national emergency reserves of oil. Three of the Terminal's 12 tankers were filled. A single point mooring (SPM) was installed in 1996 but, to date, the Company has remained a non-commercial enterprise. It is situated on Whiddy Island.
There are 31 workers, employed as general operatives and craftsmen, involved in the 2 claims. The Union claims that the wages of the workers concerned are only approximately half of what applies to workers at Irish Refining plc. (Whitegate). The present pay rates for workers in the Company are as follows:
- general operative £5.30 per hour
craftsman £5.80 per hour
12 hour shift £83.53
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place on the 16th of April, 1997. As the parties did not reach agreement the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 17th of July, 1997, in accordance
with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 15th of October, 1997, in Cork.
3. 1Pay rates
Workers in the Company are paid approximately half of what workers in Whitegate refinery are paid, despite doing similiar work. Both sets of workers belong to the same parent company (INPC). Accounts for the company in December, 1995, show a total staff of 210 with a gross wage bill of £6.8 million. The workforce at Bantry Terminals is one fifth of the overall operation but shows a wage bill of just over £0.5 million. Workers in Bantry perform a wide variety of skills. They have to sail back and forth to the island on a daily basis and work in a more dangerous environment than at Whitegate.
2. Manning Levels
Each year, temporary workers are laid off for a number of months despite having been employed by the Company for many years. The Company replaces them by employing contractors to do work that the employees are capable of. The contract workers are paid well in excess of the normal workforce - approximately £16 per hour. The Company has persistently refused to increase the number of permanent workers despite requests from the Union.
4. 1. Pay rates
An agreement on pay was finalised in October 1995. The agreement was based on the fact that the Company was a non-commercial enterprise, financed solely on a cost-recovery basis and that it did not operate a refinery as Whitegate did. The Company has still not received an operating permit which would allow it operate as a commercial enterprise. The Company is financed from public resources and any increases in costs would have to be met from the public purse.
2. Manning levels
The present situation cannot support a claim for additional permanent employment other than those necessitated by retirement or by safety and operational reasons. The Company hopes to move towards a commercial mode which will involve an increase in permanent employees but that is still in the future.
At the hearing, the Company was confident that the situation would be significantly improved if the operation was to move from a care and maintenance situation to a commercial operation.
It is the Court's view, given the sensitive stage in the development of this business, that it would be unhelpful to issue a definitive Recommendation at this time.
The Court, therefore, recommends that the parties review the situation in 6 months time, at which time, if they fail to reach an agreement, the Court would be prepared to issue a Recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
6th November, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.