INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ORAL B LABORATORIES
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. 50% shift premium.
2. The Company is based in Newbridge, Co. Kildare and employs 470 workers. There are 17 maintenance craftsmen represented by the TEEU. Other operators are represented by SIPTU.
In early 1998, the Company indicated that there might be a requirement to work a 4-shift cycle and it sought a working agreement with the Union. The Union is claiming a 50% rate for working the 4-shift cycle while the Company maintains that 33.3% is the appropriate rate.
In 1989, the Company wished to introduce 4-shift working. A small number of SIPTU workers were involved and a premium of 50% was agreed. During the course of negotiations on Clause 3 of PESP, the Company paid 3% in return for a number of items, including an agreement that future 4-shift work would pay a premium of 33.3%. The employees who held the 50% rate would be 'red-circled'.
The Union's case is that the agreement regarding the 1989 4-shift work only affected SIPTU workers. To date, the workers concerned have refused to operate the 4-shift cycle.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place on the 2nd of April, 1998. As the parties did not reach agreement the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 9th of April, 1998, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 28th of May, 1998.
4. 1. The Company's agreement with SIPTU regarding the 33.3% premium for 4-shift work has no relevance to the workers concerned. The workers have the same rights as the SIPTU workers to begin 4-shift working at 50% premium, and then negotiate an alteration to that on terms acceptable to TEEU workers. It is unfair of the Company to seek to force the Union to accept the worst aspects of a deal concluded with another union. The Company had indicated in 1992 that it did not intend to introduce the widespread use of 4-shift work.
4. 1. No 4-shift cycle was ever agreed with the Union. The standard rate across the industry for 4-shift work is 33.3%. The Union received the same pay rise under Clause 3 of PESP as SIPTU. If the Union claims that the 50% premium which was negotiated with SIPTU should apply to it, then the change from 50% to 33.3% should also apply.
2. Since 1993, all SIPTU workers have operated the 4-cycle shift at 33.3%. Conceding the Union's claim would have a considerable knock-on effect on SIPTU workers who form the majority of the workforce. It is part of the Company/Union agreement that in the event of a dispute regarding new shifts, employers will work the shift under protest and process the issue through the agreed procedure. The Union has not complied with this.
On the basis of the submissions made and the evidence addressed, the Court finds no basis on which this claim should be conceded, as the rate applying is 33.3%.
Further, it is clear to the Court that employees are in breach of the House Agreement in failing to work under protest while this matter was being processed through procedures, which is not in accordance with good industrial relations.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
22nd June, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.