INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CORAL LEISURE (IRELAND) LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Claims by the Union for:-
(1) The introduction of a pension scheme.
(2) An increase in basic pay and incentive payment in return for co-operation with the introduction of 49's bets.
2. Coral Leisure Ireland Limited is a bookmaking firm which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ladbroke plc. It was acquired by Ladbrokes from its parent company Bass plc in January, 1998. The Union's claims were submitted in December, 1997.
1. Pension Scheme
There is at present no pension scheme in place. The Company proposes a deferred contribution scheme with 3% to be paid by the Company and 3% by the workers. The Union claims that the Company's offer is inadequate and seeks a scheme similar to that in operation for workers in Bass U.K.
2. 49's Bets:
The 49's bets are a series of numbers based bets introduced because the Company's core business of horses and greyhounds has declined. The Company introduced the 49's bets in early 1997 for a trial period of 13 weeks and agreed to pay a commission payment based on the turnover of 49's bets for the trial period. At the end of the trial period the commission payment ceased with the 49's betting continuing in operation. The Union claims an increase in basic pay and an incentive payment in return for the workers' co-operation.
Management rejected the Union's claims and the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held in February and March, 1998.
Agreement could not be reached and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 20th May, 1998. A Court hearing was held on the 10th June, 1998.
3. 1. When the Company first came to Ireland in 1986 Management stated that within one year the Company would introduce a pension scheme in line with that in operation in Bass UK. Some management members already enjoy a similar scheme. The Company's present proposal is inadequate with staff expected to contribute the same amount as the employer. In the Bass scheme staff pay 4% and the Company pays 11%.
2. Under Partnership 2000 and previous national wage agreements provision was made for the introduction of a pension scheme. There is an obligation on the Company to introduce a pension scheme similiar to that in operation for workers in Bass UK.
1. The Company is no longer a Bass subsidiary and it is unreasonable for the Union to pursue a claim for the introduction of the Bass pension scheme for the workers concerned. Until recently only one other company in the industry provided a pension scheme for its workers. That scheme is a 2% contribution from the Company and 3% from the workers.
2. The pension scheme sought by the Union is clearly not a viable proposition considering that the Company is operating in a declining marketplace.
3. The current trend in the establishment of pension schemes is for a defined contribution scheme similar to that proposed by the Company.
4. The claim is cost increasing and is precluded under the Partnership 2000 Agreement.
4. 1. Workers employed in other major bookmakers have received increases in wages plus bonuses for co-operation with the introduction of this bet (details to the Court).
2. The Company is very successful and profitable. It is only fair and reasonable that workers who have contributed to this profit margin should receive a rate of pay which takes into account the additional productivity created by the introduction of the 49's bet.
1. The rationale behind the Company's temporary 13 weeks staff incentive scheme was to encourage workers to promote the bet in order to ensure its successful launch on the market. The Company however cannot concede the principle of payment for the introduction of new bets.
2. A reasonable analogy would be a claim by unions/workers in a supermarket for additional monies for handling any new product on shelves. This would be patently unreasonable and unworkable in a supermarket setting. However the same principle applies to bookmaker shops wherein the products sold are bets. This principle was upheld by the Court in LCR14883 (concerning the introduction of lucky numbers bets).
3. The temporary incentive scheme to promote the launch of the 49's bets resulted in a small loss on 49's betting after all costs associated with the bet were taken into account. It is not economically viable for the Company to continue with such a commission payment scheme.
4. The Company has honoured all phases of the relevant National Wage Agreements and workers received the appropriate 2.5% pay increase under the P2000 Agreement on the 1st October 1997. In addition both shop bonus and Christmas bonus schemes are already in place and cost the Company approximately 2.3% of the annual wage bill.
Having carefully evaluated the submissions of the parties the Court recommends that the Company's final offer of 21st May 1998 be accepted subject to the following modifications;
1. The Company should elaborate its proposal to develop appropriate staff incentive schemes and this should be further discussed between the parties.
2. The Company should acknowledge that based on previous commitments freely given, the staff have a legitimate aspiration to the introduction of a defined benefit pension scheme. Such a scheme should be introduced when the economic and commercial circumstances of the Company permit. In that regard the matter should be jointly reviewed periodically. On that basis the Union should accept the Company's present offer of a defined contribution scheme.
3. The making or processing of cost-increasing claims should in future be restricted by the terms of Clause 6 of the Pay Agreement associated with Partnership 2000 and any corresponding provision in subsequent National Agreements.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
22nd June, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.