INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
TERENURE PRINTERS LIMITED/SUNDAY WORLD
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Redeployment of staff in the machine room.
2. In July, 1996, the Company secured a contract to print the Daily Mirror newspaper and, having failed to agree new working arrangements with existing staff, it employed an additional three staff. The new staff were assigned to work on the Urbanite press. However, the existing 14 staff refused to transfer their shifts from the Urbanite press to the Tribune press, which resulted in the introduction of wasted shifts on the Urbanite press. Consequently the Tribune press was undermanned, which necessitated a significant number of overtime shifts to be worked by the existing 14 staff on the Tribune press.
The situation could not be resolved at local level and the parties attended the Labour Relations Commission on the 4th of February, 1998, and the 23rd of February, 1998. The Industrial Relations Officer put forward a set of proposals (details supplied to the Court) which were subsequently rejected by the workers. At the request of the Company the issue was referred to the Labour Court on the 8th of May, 1998, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 8th of June, 1998.
3. 1. The difficulties which the Company states that it is experiencing are as a direct result of its refusal to negotiate with the Union when it successfully tendered for the Daily Mirror contract. It employed additional staff without Union agreement, although the agreed manning level existed.
2. The existing 14 staff are employed to work the Urbanite press and there has been no agreement reached to change this. The workers already work an anti-social 14 week cycle roster. The Company's proposed roster would be even more anti-social, as staff would not know in advance when they would be off duty. The staff concerned would also lose approximately £15,000 per annum in overtime earnings.
3. The Company is part of the Independent Newspapers Group and, as such, it is a highly profitable company. It appears that the Company wishes to increase its profits at the expense of its employees.
4. 1. The Company has reached agreement with the craft unions on this same issue. However, the proposals cannot be implemented until agreement is reached with this group of workers. If the Industrial Relations Officer's proposal is implemented the average salary for each of the existing staff should be approximately £55,000 per annum. If the staff concerned are available for overtime they should suffer no loss of earnings.
2. The addition of one member of staff to the Tribune roster will cover the total number of rostered shifts if there is a fully integrated roster for all 18 staff. Alternatively, the wasted shifts on the Urbanite press could be made effective by being switched to the Tribune press when staff shortages occur.
3. In the present competitive environment the Company must be afforded the opportunity to manage and to compete on an equal basis with that of its competitors. It is seeking to achieve best practices, thus enabling it to tender for additional work and, thereby, securing the employment of existing staff and creating additional employment where possible.
In view of the assurances given in Court as to the impact the new proposals would have on earnings and working hours, the Court recommends that the Union agrees to the proposals on the basis that both sides carry out an appraisal of the effects in 12 months time.
The 1st phase of the proposed compensation should be paid, and the 2nd phase withheld pending the outcome of the review.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th July, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.