INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Claim for payment of 3% increase under Clause 3 of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress (PESP).
2. The Company produces a range of snack foods for the Irish market and has its main production facility at Coolock, in Dublin. The dispute concerns a claim for the local bargaining 3% pay increase, in accordance with Clause 3 of the PESP, on behalf of 9 day-shift operators, 9 evening-shift operators and 6 relief operators who operate the Company's two wrapping machines.
A number of years ago, the Company shed 64 jobs on the production line and added an 8th "Crisp" line. In return for this rationalisation the workers concerned were paid the 3% increase. Colleagues on the wrapper line were offered the 3% in return for an increase in revolutions of 2% per minute. The offer was rejected on the grounds that the workers were already overworked and could not meet the new speeds.
In 1996, the Company replaced its two "Rose Forgrove" machines with an "Arrow Flow Wrap" machine and a "Sandiacre VFFS" machine, respectively, giving rise to an increase of 7.4% productivity in the area. The Union is now seeking the 3% increase based on the increased productivity. The Claim has been rejected by the Company on the grounds that the increased productivity is machine-based and has no impact on the workers concerned. The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission at which agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court, on the 7th of January, 1998, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court carried out its investigation on the 9th of March, 1998.
3. 1. The workers concerned are entitled to the 3% increase arising from the increased productivity (details supplied to the Court).
2. The workers have co-operated in every respect with the introduction of the new plant and are entitled to concession of their claim.
3. The claim is not "out of date" as claimed by the Company, as it has been under discussion for a long period. The Company's claim that the increase is precluded under Partnership 2000 is rejected. The claim has not actually been made under Partnership 2000, but under the PESP.
4. 1. The Company has consistently implemented national wage agreements in accordance with their spirit and intention. A claim, in 1992, for 3% under Clause 3 of the PESP was conceded to a group of employees, as there was a sufficient improvement in productivity, directly as a result of their increased efforts. This approach has been applied throughout the Company. The current claim does not meet these criteria. The improvement in production (details supplied), has resulted directly from technical improvements and the effective utilisation of the downtime which existed previously. The claim for 3% should, accordingly, be rejected.
2. The claim is precluded by the time limits of the PESP (details supplied) and, being cost-increasing, is precluded by Partnership 2000.
3. Concession of the claim could be considered if an increase in machine speed were to be achieved.
Having considered the submissions from the parties the Court is satisfied that the claim does not come within the time limits of PESP.
The Court is of the view that an equitable way of dealing with the dispute is for both parties to agree to an increase in speed on the Arrow machine with the view to increasing productivity which would justify concession of the 3% as claimed.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th of April, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.