INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
COCA COLA BOTTLERS IRELAND LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Dispute concerning the retrospective application of an overtime agreement.
2. The dispute relates to 4 workers in the Dispatch Department who were transferred from the Company's premises on the Naas Road to premises on the Long Mile Road in October, 1992, due to legal reasons related to the marketing and ownership of the 7-Up brand. The Union claims that the workers understood at the time of the transfer that there would be no deterioration of their terms and conditions in the transfer. In 1992, the workers involved reached agreement with local management in relation to overtime payments before normal start time. All such hours were to be paid at time and a half. In June, 1994, the workers at the Naas Road depot had a change in their conditions which the Company claimed was reached in terms of a re-structuring package and did not affect workers at the Long Mile Road. The changes in conditions at the Naas Road resulted in overtime before starting time being paid at double time. The Union disagrees with the Company's claim that the agreement reached in relation to workers on the Naas Road did not apply to workers at the Long Mile Road, and claims that rates agreed in relation to overtime should have universal application across the Company. When the workers concerned returned to the Naas Road in March, 1996, the arrangements for double time were applied to them from the date of return. The Union claims retrospection for the period of time spent in the Long Mile Road before return and after the date of agreement i.e. the difference between early start overtime paid at time and a half and the double time application in the other location for the period June, 1994 to March, 1996. The Company rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 9th September, 1998. Agreement could not be reached and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 17th September, 1998. A Court hearing was held on the 25th November, 1998, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
1. When the temporary re-structuring of 1992 occurred contracts of employment and Company/Union agreements on pay and conditions remained unchanged. The re-establishment of double time for overtime worked before normal starting time (early starts) was not applied to the dispatch operatives at the Long Mile Road who were not aware of this development. The 4 workers concerned were working early starts. Other dispatch operatives of Naas Road presumed this overtime applied across the board and that their 4 colleagues at Long Mile Road were receiving equal treatment. These 4 workers should have been paid the overtime payments retrospectively for the period 1994 to 1996.
2. Since 1996 onwards intensive negotiations were ongoing in the dispatch department (re. Bonus Scheme), consequently this issue was set aside and served on the Company in early 1998.
3. Pay and conditions are negotiated on a company-wide, and section-wide basis. All dispatch operatives are on the same basic pay and overtime pay. The Union never gave its consent to a variation in standard overtime pay agreements.
4. The Company set a recent precedent in agreeing to retrospective payment of an increase in overtime tea allowance to the dispatch operatives, in order to bring them into line with the increased tea allowance paid to production operatives.
1. In 1992 when the Company spilt, two totally separate companies were formed. They had separate and distinct collective bargaining units with their own local arrangements and agreements and those reached with one group did not affect the other group.
2. At Long Mile Road (where the claimants were based during the spilt) a separate agreement was made whereby workers would be paid for overtime not worked. The arrangement was that a number of hours were allocated to the task and workers were allowed to work to finish while the projected hours were credited to them at 1.5 hours. This agreement was particular to their workers on the Long Mile Road and reflected the needs of the Company and the wishes of workers. Workers at this location continued to be paid at 1.5 times the hourly rate which reflected the wish for social overtime hours.
3. In the 1994 re-structuring at the Naas Road agreement was reached with Union on all the issues involved, including one whereby one employee was needed to work fixed overtime from 7.30 pm before the normal start at 8 pm. The Company agreed to pay for this element of overtime at double time.
4. In 1996 the newly united Company agreed that double time would be paid . This was a recognition that the department was now one and should have common agreements. The practice of work to finish ceased to exist. No element of retrospective payment was sought at that time.
5. In 1998, the 4 workers claimed retrospection for overtime worked before normal start time for the duration of the split. The separate arrangements that were agreed during the split comprised of specific agreements with the employees and, in respect of the claimants were honoured in full. There is no basis for the workers concerned to seek to retrospectively negotiate an agreement which was honoured by the Company.
The Court was presented with conflicting information on the background to this claim.
It is clear that various locations did particular local deals during this period but it is not clear which version before the Court is the correct one.
The Court having considered all the information before it recommends that the Company pay £4,000 to the claimants in full and final settlement of this claim.
The method of distribution of the £4,000 to be decided by the Union and the claimants.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th December, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.