INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
DUBLIN DRUG COMPANY
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
MANUFACTURING, SCIENCE, FINANCE
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Terms and conditions of employment.
2. In 1996 the Company experienced serious financial problems and began discussions with the Union regarding the implementation of cost cutting measures and changes to conditions of employment. A conciliation conference was held at the Labour Relations Commission and a Labour Court hearing took place on the 8th of May, 1996. Labour Court recommendation LCR15173 was issued on the 22nd of May, 1996, the terms of which were implemented in September, 1996. In August, 1996, the parties agreed to carry out an annual review at which all constructive ideas from both parties would be discussed in detail. The Company was the subject of a take-over by United Drug on the 2nd of December, 1997.
The Union claims that the Company refused to carry out the review in August, 1997, and referred the dispute to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 12th of January, 1998, at which the Union requested referral to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 30th of March, 1998.
3. 1. On the 1st of August, 1996, the Company agreed that a full and detailed annual review would take place to discuss in detail all constructive ideas from both parties. The Company now refuses to carry out the review and to discuss the issues addressed in LCR15173.
2. If the review had been carried out in August, 1997, negotiations would probably have
been concluded by the 2nd of December, 1997, the date of the take-over by United Drug. The Company has now tabled an agenda in negotiations which includes the harmonisation of terms and conditions of employment of both staff units.
3. The 46 employees concerned in this dispute agreed to terms which adversely affected their salaries and conditions of employment on the understanding that the Company would review the position in 1997. The Company should now carry out the review before the negotiations on harmonisation take place.
4. 1. The Company envisaged an annual review which would centre around constructive ideas and suggestions from both sides. It was never intended to reverse all the changes which had taken place less than one year before. Compensation payments have been made and profit-sharing introduced to lessen the impact of the changes.
2. Notwithstanding the fact that Dublin Drug is now a subsidiary of United Drug the Company cannot entertain returning to a situation which was the subject of seven months' negotiations.
3. The Union and the employees have full details of the terms and conditions of United Drug staff. The comparative analysis clearly shows that Dublin Drug staff have a more beneficial package to that of their new colleagues. Negotiations have already commenced on the harmonisation of terms and conditions in addition to redundancy terms and a relocation compensation payment.
The Court does not accept that the annual review agreed between the parties on the implementation of LCR15173 could have been intended to provide an opportunity for a complete re-negotiation of all issues dealt with by that recommendation.
The Court notes that a conciliation conference was held on 12th January, 1998, on the issue(s) which the Union wished to discuss. This conference should be regarded as constituting the review. It is further noted that negotiations are on-going between the parties on a range of matters arising from the take-over of the company. These negotiations should provide the Union with an opportunity to raise any relevant issues relating to current conditions of employment of its members which were not settled following LCR15173.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th April, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.