INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LOCAL AUTHORITIES/HEALTH BOARDS/VOLUNTARY HOSPITALS
(REPRESENTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES BOARD)
(AND THE HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYERS' AGENCY)
- AND -
LOCAL AUTHORITIES/HEALTH BOARDS/VOLUNTARY HOSPITALS UNIONS
(REPRESENTED BY THE CRAFT GROUP OF UNIONS)
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Claim on behalf of 4,500 craftsmen, for a pay review.
2. The dispute relates to the analogue review for 4,500 craftsmen employed by Local Authorities, Health Boards and Voluntary Hospitals. The agreement in relation to the analogue review emanates from 1979 when the original list of analogues were agreed. There are 17 comparator companies involved in the current analogue review.
The Unions claim that in January, 1997 negotiations commenced with Management for a review of craftsmen's pay. They sought an implementation date of 1st July, 1997. Agreement was reached in relation to the pay rates currently in operation in thirteen comparator companies. However, following several meetings and conciliation conferences at local level no agreement was possible in relation to the rates of pay pertaining in four comparator companies. These were Tegral; Bord Gais; Wessel Energy Cables and Irish Ropes.
The Unions claim that they have used the same criteria as laid down in Labour Court Recommendation LCR 6008 which yields an increase to craftsmen of £27.69 per week from the 1st July, 1997. Negotiations concluded on the 9th September, 1997 without agreement.
Management rejects the Unions' claim and states that the analogue review should take place under the terms of Partnership 2000 and not the P.C.W. The last review was implemented with effect from the 1st April, 1994 in accordance with the pay provisions of the PCW. Management also rejects the Unions' method of calculating the amount due
under the analogue review because some bonuses are included in the calculations. It claims that this is at variance with the agreed method of calculating the figure as set out in Labour Court Recommendation LCR 6008. The real divergence between management and the Unions' position is between £13.65 and £27.69 per week respectively.
Following the conclusion of negotiations on the 9th September, 1997, the Unions balloted its members who voted for industrial action to take effect from the 1st December, 1997. It was in this context that the Labour Court invited the parties to attend a Court hearing in accordance with Section 26(5) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 3rd December, 1997.
The basis of disagreement between the parties relates to four companies included in the analogue review and are as follows:-
(a) Unidare (Wessel Energy Cables):
3. 1. Unidare was divided into 3 separate companies; Wessel Energy Cables; Tinsley Wire and Oerlikon Electrodes. The Unions argue that Wessel Energy Cables retained the vast majority of workers from Unidare and that there was a transfer of rates of pay and conditions of employment from Unidare to Wessel Energy Cables. The Unions claim that Wessel Energy Cables should replace Unidare for the purpose of the analogue review.
2. Following the restructuring of Unidare, a number of separate organisations were formed, 3 of which employ craftworkers, namely; Wessel Energy Cables, Tinsley Wire and Oerlikon Electrodes. In the past where analogue companies have re-structured and formed separate entities, an average of the separate entities has been used to provide the rate for the original analogue.
The basic rate of pay for craftsmen in the Company is £307.11 per week. This includes a 20p per hour bonus. The Unions claim that the bonus should be included for the purpose of the analogue review.
Management claims that there is a difference of approximately £8.00 per week between the parties. It argues that the Unions have included a bonus payment of 20p per hour which is paid to electricians only and is in respect of additional qualifications obtained by them. Management does not accept that this payment should be included as it is not paid to all craft grades within the Company.
(c) An Bord Gais:
The Company have an incremental three scale wage structure applying to craftsmen, similar to that used in the E.S.B. The Unions have taken the top of Scale 2 as applies in the ESB for the analogue review.
In accordance with previous practice, management has used the (Dublin) gas fitter rate which is currently £306.92 per week. The Unions are seeking to use a Cork Technician's rate of £383.46 per week. Bord Gais has confirmed that the rate used by Management is the correct one.
(d) Irish Ropes:
The bonus scheme in the Company was the subject of investigation under Labour Court Recommendation LCR 6008. The Unions have established that while the bonus scheme was implemented in 1975, and reviewed in 1977 as a measured scheme, it was decided in 1980 to discontinue the measurement of the bonus scheme as the administration costs were more costly than the bonus scheme itself.
The present hourly rate which has been indexed to wage increases and is paid on all hours worked, including overtime and is also included for pension purposes, has been the alternative to the measured scheme since 1980.
The bonus of £62.40 should not be included in the current analogue review for the following reasons:-
(a) The bonus is performance related. It is payable on the basis that machine downtime is minimised.
(b) It was originally the claim for inclusion of this bonus which was before the Court and which led to the criteria set out in Labour Court Recommendation LCR 6008. The Court having set out criteria then recommended that the criteria be used by the parties to evaluate the bonuses then in dispute. The bonus in Irish Ropes was not included in subsequent analogues.
Arising from the failure to agree a figure for purpose of determining increases due to craftsmen in Local Authorities, Health Boards and Voluntary Hospitals the Court invited the parties to a hearing. The system of pay determination for these employees has been in place since 1979 and consists of averaging rates paid in certain agreed companies at an agreed date - commonly referred to as an Analogue Review. In the present case the parties had agreed the rates in the majority of the companies. Considerable differences were found in three of the Company’s quoted rates and there was a doubt over one other.
Traditionally the date used for the purpose of the review was a “snap shot” of rates on an agreed date. The Court is satisfied that 1/7/97 is the appropriate date to be used in this review.
Having heard the submissions and arguments, the Court decided to seek information on the disputed rates on its own behalf. The Court records its thanks for the co-operation received from the Companies contacted. Arising from this investigation, the Court held further meetings with the parties separately.
The Court was asked by the Union side to support its position and also to recommend that:-
(a) the full amount due be paid from 1/7/97 and
(b) that a review be carried out annually.
The Boards for their part emphasised the importance and relevance of National Pay Policy as set out in national agreements. In addition they stressed the necessity of agreeing savings to offset the cost of the increase.
Having examined the manner in which previous reviews were arrived at, the Court is satisfied that a figure of £18.87 emerges under this review. To assist the parties the details of how this figure was arrived at is set out at Appendix (A) (confidential to the parties only).
Also to assist the parties the Court gives the reasons as to how it arrived at the figures used in the four Companies where differences occurred.
The Union side claimed that this figure should be £307.11. They subsequently altered it to £310.22. Management submitted a figure of £306.79. The Court is of the view that the method used to arrive at the latest Union figure is mathematically unsustainable and was not the method used in the past.
The Court confirms that the correct figure is £306.79.
Initially it was disputed as to whether an average rate spread over the three Companies on the site should be taken. The Union side eventually accepted this principle. The major difference related to bonus. On the basis of the information given to it, the Court is satisfied that the payment of bonus comes within the criteria previously agreed for inclusion and accordingly the rate used is the average of the basic rates plus bonuses. The figure used is accordingly £355.64.
(3) Bord Gais
The management side maintained that the figure used traditionally was the Gas Fitter’s rate while the union side maintained that it was more appropriate to use the Technician’s rate. The Court examined the position in Bord Gais carefully and convened a meeting about rates etc., at Bord Gais headquarters. The Court has established that :-
(a) Gas Fitters in Bord Gais are time served, City and Guilds fitters.
(b) Some lead hands are paid the craft rate although they are not time served employees.
(c) Harmonisation of rates occurred in 1981-82 when the Gas Fitters’ rate was moved upwards to the Electricians’ rate.
The decision of the Court is that the correct rate for the analogue is the Gas Fitter/Electricians’ rate, which is £306.92.
(4) Irish Ropes
The Court wrote to the Company seeking the required information and in reply Irish Ropes confirmed the following:-
(a) Basic rate for craft workers at 1/7/97 was £255.00.
(b) A Bonus of £62.40 per week is also paid to craftspersons. This bonus is not taken into account for the purpose of overtime and other basic related purposes.
The Court is also aware from documentation received that the bonus payment was not included in analogue reviews, since Labour Court Recommendation No. 6008 issued in 1980.
In view of the above information the Court considers that the correct figure for the purposes of this analogue is £255.00.
On the basis of the figures outlined above for the four Companies and those previously agreed between the parties for the other thirteen Companies in the analogue, the outcome of the review gives a figure of £18.87 - that is an increase of 6.81%.
The Court is satisfied that there have been major changes in work practices and the role of the craftsperson in a number of the companies included on the analogue list. It is the view of the Court that the whole system of analogues needs to be examined. This should take place prior to the next review.
In the context of National Pay Policy the parties must take account of the increases already agreed under the terms of the P.C.W. The Court accordingly recommends that:-
(a) The analogue figure for this review is £18.87.
(b) In accordance with previous practice this amount is to be implemented on a phased basis in accordance with current National Pay policy. The Court expects that the parties would agree the phasing.
(c) The Court notes that a sum of £6.81 was paid under the P.C.W. This increase was offset by agreed flexibility measures. The same principle should apply to the outcome of this review. The Court recommends that this matter be resolved between the parties.
(d) The final phase of 2% which is to be paid in accordance with the pay provision of Programme 2000 is included in the figure of £18.87.
The Court recommends that both parties accept the above findings and commence discussions as outlined in (b), (c) and (d) above, immediately.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30 January, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.