INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CHARLES BELL LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
MARINE, PORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Claim by the Union on behalf of two workers for the introduction of a new salary structure.
2. The Company supplies shades to the window-blind trade and employs fifteen workers at its plant in Cherry Orchard Industrial Estate. The manufacturing facility at the factory was transferred to Belfast in 1993. The workers have a weekly wage of £174.00. The Union's claim is for a pay scale ranging from £175 to £200 per week after five years service. The Company rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and conciliation conferences were held on the 14th July and 7th August, 1997. Agreement was not possible and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 10th of September, 1997. A Court hearing was held on the 11th of February, 1998 (the earliest date suitable to the parties).
3. 1. The Union is claiming a very moderate pay scale on behalf of the two workers considering the fact that they have no service pay, bonus or overtime payments to enhance their low basic rate of pay.
2. There is no pension scheme in place even though the Company gave an undertaking to consider such a scheme in 1991.
3. The workers concerned have at all times given full co-operation to the Company including the acceptance of short-time working and agreement to redundancies at the plant.
4. The Company has traded profitably since 1994, however, it has consistently refused to adjust pay rates which are below the norms in the industry
5. Despite staff reductions in 1994 the Company has maintained market share and improved its profitability. It has not rewarded the workers for their efforts. The increases claimed would not threaten the viability of the Company.
4. 1. Before the Company transferred its manufacturing facility to Belfast in 1993, the two employees concerned in this claim were involved in the production of made to measure custom blinds (rollers and verticals). As the Company no longer manufactures on a full time basis, these same employees are currently involved in some light assembly, packaging and distribution.
2. Therefore, as these two employees are currently undertaking duties similar to that of a general operative, the Company is satisfied, having investigated rates being paid locally, that the basic rates currently being paid to these two employees are comparable with general operatives rates in the region.
3. All employees also have the opportunity to earn significant overtime earnings.,
4. The Company also offers favourable conditions of employment to its employees in relation to a Christmas bonus, a Christmas party for workers and partners, and uniforms for all workers purchased at the Company's expense.
5. The Company is very flexible towards its workers in terms of issuing wage cheques early when requested, allowing time off with pay for different reasons and also paying for one day absence and longer periods at times depending on the particular circumstances.
6. In terms of its competitive position within the market, the Company is unable to sustain any further costs. There are currently approximately 66 other companies selling roller blinds within the Dublin region and countrywide, which has forced the Company to reduce its prices and offer attractive discounts to its customers.
7. The claim is cost increasing and is precluded under the Partnership 2000 Agreement.
As the claim is precluded by Clause 6 of the Partnership 2000 Agreement the Court does not recommend its concession.
It is noted that the Company have previously offered to now implement the 3% local bargaining element of PESP. This offer should now be accepted by the Union.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th February, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.