INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
UNION CAMP IRELAND
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. (1) Unabated pension scheme. (2) Sick pay scheme.
2. The Company manufactures corrugated cases at its plant in Ashbourne, Co. Meath. It currently employs 170 workers.
In 1988, the Company introduced a pension plan to cover all employees. The plan is a Defined Benefit Plan and is integrated with state pension benefits. The Unions are seeking an unabated scheme where the state pension offset would be phased out.
In 1993, the Company introduced a sick pay scheme. The scheme provides for 8 weeks' pay after 3 days of absence for operatives, and 26 weeks' pay from the first day for clerical and managerial staff. The Unions are seeking that all staff receive 26 weeks' pay.
The Company offered to improve the pension scheme. On the sick pay scheme issue they made an offer of up to 12 weeks' pay based on service. The offers were rejected by the Unions.
The dispute was the subject of two conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on the 8th and 22nd of September, 1998. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred 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 November, 1998.
3. 1. Unabated Pension Scheme
The Unions are seeking an unabated scheme for their members. Government policy to increase the old age pension above the rate of inflation has reduced the cost of existing pension arrangements for the employer.
The Company's contribution to the present scheme is less than the employees' contribution. There is scope for change.
2. Sick Pay Scheme
The unequal treatment of the operatives compared to clerical staff is unsatisfactory. There are no preconditions for staff entry to the scheme and there should be no preconditions for the operatives.
4. 1. Unabated Pension Scheme
The introduction of such a scheme would be cost increasing. The present pension scheme is competitive and compares well with other schemes in similar employments in the country. Unabated pension schemes are the exception in this country.
2. Sick Pay Scheme
The present sick pay scheme compares favourably with sick pay schemes available throughout industry.
Since the introduction of the scheme the absence levels have increased from 4.5% to 6.5%. If the Unions' claim is conceded it would lead to higher absence levels and, therefore, would be cost increasing.
The Court, in relation to the two issues before it, recommends as follows:-
1.Unabated Pension Scheme
The Court finds that this scheme is not substantially out of line with other
appropriate comparable employments, and, therefore, the Court does not
recommend concession of the Unions' claim.
However, the Company has indicated that it would be prepared to improve
some aspects of the scheme and the Court recommends that the parties
meet to agree such improvements.
2.Sick Pay Scheme
The Court equally finds that this scheme is not out of line with comparable
However, the Court recommends that the Company proposal for changes to
the scheme should be implemented for a 12 month trial period, at which
stage further discussions should take place between the parties.
In the meantime, the parties should meet to discuss the issue of
increased level of absenteeism.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
11th December, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.