INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Payment for additional work arising from redeployment.
2. The Company markets a comprehensive range of oil products and operates out of six depots nationwide (Dublin, Drogheda, New Ross, Cork, Galway and Limerick). In April, 1997 the post of supervisor in Drogheda became vacant due to the illness and eventual death of the supervisor. Cover for his absence has been provided by a combination of a casual employee and a rota among 2/3 full-time clerical staff based in Dublin. Travel expenses and two hours overtime per day to allow for travel are paid to the workers concerned.
Following the death of the supervisor, the Company informed the Union that it would not be filling his post and intended to integrate his duties with the work of the other clerical staff in Dublin. Local level discussions took place following which the Union indicated that it would agree to the re-distribution of the work subject to the 3 workers receiving an equitable share of the savings accruing to the Company. The Company rejected the Union's claim.
The matter was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference took place on the 14th of May, 1998 at which the Union outlined its claim for the re-grading of the three workers from Grade D to the 9th point of the Grade F scale. The Company indicated that it was willing to address the issue by offering one promotional post at Grade E. As agreement could not be reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 12th of June, 1998 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990.
3. 1. The savings accruing to the Company by the non-replacement of the Drogheda post will be approximately £50,000 per annum. The Union's claim represents £2,964 per annum to the three workers concerned. 2. Concession of the Union's claim will result in the loss of overtime opportunities in the future as employees above Grade D are not paid overtime. 3. The Company's proposal will considerably increase the workers' responsibility and workload. It will also mean the suppression of a promotional outlet. In the circumstances the Union's claim is modest and reasonable.
4. 1. Since 1984, it has been an accepted part of the Company/Union agreements that staff will only be replaced in exceptional circumstances and that no compensation will accrue to remaining employees. Several pay increases have been awarded since that time on the basis of acceptance of this term, along with a number of others.
2. In March, 1993, the Company concluded an agreement which resulted in all employees covered by this claim receiving a 3% increase (under the local bargaining clause of PESP). There were only six points mentioned in this agreement and point 4 stated:-
"Full co-operation will be given to ensure that best utilisation of manpower (Administrative, Permanent or Temporary) resources is achieved in relation to depot administration. In the event of any difficulties arising in relation to this clause, agreement shall not be unreasonably withheld."
Clause 5 of the same agreement stated:
"Staff will co-operate with the Company in order to assist in the maximum utilisation of group human resources."
3. This claim is precluded by the terms of Partnership 2000. The thrust of the agreement relates to co-operation regarding "adaptation and flexibility to maintain and increase competitiveness".
4. Acceptance of the Union's claim would mean paying the employees twice for the same concession and, would undoubtedly, result in repercussive claims by other employees.
5. Increased competition in the industry is putting additional pressure on the Company's profit margins, and the profitability of the entire Maxol Group in recent years reflects this fact.
6. The Company is strongly opposed to this claim and considers it to be an attempt to ignore existing and unambiguous agreement as well as clearly established precedent, custom and practice. Concession of this claim would have a serious detrimental effect on the conduct of industrial relations within the firm. In all the circumstances the Court is requested to recommend in favour of the Company.
Having considered the submissions from the Company and the Union, and having questioned the parties to this dispute during the course of the hearing, the Court is satisfied that since 1983 agreements have existed between the Employer and the Union whereby, where savings could be made by not filling vacancies which arose through natural wastage, these savings would be made.
Further, concession of the claim would be in clear breach of Partnership 2000.
The Court, therefore, recommends that the formula which had evolved at conciliation, and which the Employer confirmed at the Court hearing would be let stand, should be implemented, i.e. that one promotional post at Grade E be offered, to be applied for by any or all of the three individuals concerned in the claim, and that to each of the two unsuccessful individuals a modest lump sum payment should be made. The Court recommends a sum of £1,000 as being appropriate.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
29th July, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.