INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
WOODFAB TIMBER LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Interpretation of agreement with regard to loss of shift pay.
2. The Company is located at Aughrim, Co. Wicklow and currently employees 75 people. In 1997 negotiations began regarding the sale of the Company. In February, 1998 the sale was finalised and the new owners took over.
In mid-1997 the two workers concerned in the dispute were taken off shift working but were informed that they would retain the shift allowance for the moment. In March, 1998 it was decided to discontinue the shift allowance to the two workers.
The Union claims that the outgoing company assured the workers that there would be no change in the conditions of employment for one year after the takeover.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on the 29th of June, 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. The Court investigated the dispute on the 1st of December, 1998 in Arklow.
3. 1. The workers were assured that there would be no change in the terms and conditions of employment for one year after the takeover without prior agreement.
2. The deduction of the shift allowance is in breach of the agreement reached prior to the takeover.
4. 1. It is not part of the terms and conditions of employment that workers be paid a shift allowance while not performing shift duties.
2. The two workers were aware that they would retain their shift allowance until the future of the Company was decided.
3. It is unacceptable to concede to the Union's claim as the Company is small and non-profit making and cannot afford to incur costs other than those absolutely essential to its operation.
While it is accepted that an agreement at the time of transfer of ownership was given in relation to conditions of employment, there is a disagreement on whether the arrangement for the claimants could be classified under this heading.
There is also disagreement between the parties on whether it was made clear to the individuals that the arrangement would cease on transfer of ownership.
The Court is concerned that there are further issues arising based on the 12 months agreement and changes in working arrangements.
Without prejudice to the other matters related to the 12 months agreement, and taking into account the background of this particular case, the Court recommends that the claimant who has returned to shift working be paid £250, and the other claimant £1,000 in full settlement of this claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
17th December, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.