INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
GRAPHICAL PAPER AND MEDIA UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Dispute concerning redundancy.
2. The Company is involved in the Computer Manual Business and employs 150 workers (19 of whom are printers). Due to a restructuring of the business Management required a reduction of three printers and two machine assistants. Following negotiations between the parties one printer and two machine assistants accepted the Company's redundancy package (4 week's pay per year of service including statutory entitlements). The Company required two further redundancies from among the printers and proposed that they be effected on a last in first out basis, subject to the retention of necessary skills. The Union opposed compulsory redundancy and proposed the rotation of all the printers in the WEB Hall and Sheet Fed area as a basis for resolving the issue. Management rejected rotation as a viable alternative to redundancy. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 10th of February, 1998. Agreement was not possible and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 17th of February 1998. A Court hearing was held on the 4th of March, 1998.
3. 1. All the printers could be rotated as they are competent workers and would be able to operate efficiently without disruption to the Company's production schedule. Under this system two printers would be unemployed for one week in nine.
2. The Union will not accept the imposition of compulsory redundancy or "last in first out".
3. The Company claims that the skill factor involved discriminates in relation to some printers. The Union believes that the greater number of printers rotating will have very little affect on production or quality. When the workers commenced employment they were told by Management that they would all be designated as No. 1 printers.
4. Training across a broad spectrum of the machinery has been in operation for the past four months. If there is an upturn in business the Company could require the extra two printers.
4. 1. The Company does not want to operate rotation because in the Studio Section there are four workers who have no experience in printing. They would be totally lost in the Sheet Fed department and they are therefore unsuitable for rotation.
2. In the Web Hall (a different premises) there are six printers who have no experience on the new machines in the Sheet Fed department. These printers are highly skilled in their section and are critical to the Web Hall. Their shift patterns are totally different to the Sheet Fed department. Rotation is not an option here for the Company.
3. In the Sheet Fed department there are three machines operating a double day shift pattern. There are four No. 1 printers and six No. 2 printers. The Company cannot rotate any of its No. 1 printers as they are all essential to that department for their skill in maintaining quality and production levels. This leaves six No. 2 printers and rotation among them would mean one week off in every three. This would seriously damage morale in the Company.
4. The Company has examined every avenue in an effort to maintain employment and is reluctantly forced into a redundancy situation.
The Court considers that the best approach to dealing with the current redundancy situation is for the parties to agree to a rotation arrangement which initially should be amongst the six number two printers in the Sheet Feeding area. The Company should immediately provide training on the 702 machine so as to increase the number of printers with the necessary skills to be included in the rotation pool without disruption to the production process.
The operation of this arrangement should be reviewed by the parties at monthly interval.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd April, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.