INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
2. The Union represents 33 sales representatives who are each responsible for selling a wide range of building products throughout various geographic areas. The Union claims that sales representatives have traditionally been in a three grade structure, Grades 4, 5 and 6, and that Management is attempting to change the structure to two grades, Grades 4 and 5. The Union is claiming that Management should honour the previous three tier structure and should agree criteria by which staff at Grade 5 can advance to Grade 6. Management states that staff are usually recruited at Grade 4 and progress to Grade 5 after a couple of years' satisfactory service. It also states that, for historical reasons, a number of staff are in Grade 6.
The issue was the subject of local discussions since February, 1997, and was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on the 26th of November, 1997. As the parties failed to reach agreement the issue was referred to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 20th of February, 1998.
3. 1. The three tier structure of Grades 4, 5 and 6 for sales representatives has been in place for more than twenty five years. There are currently three sales representatives in Grade 6.
2. Prior to the inception of the Union's claim pay scales for the three grades were published together. Grade 6 has since been deleted.
3. The staff concerned are among the hardest worked and lowest paid in the Group while the Company is increasingly more successful. Management should recognise the dedication of the staff and allow more Grade 5 staff access to Grade 6 under clearly defined criteria.
4. 1. The 1984 Company/Union Agreement specifically states that a two tier structure of Grades 4 and 5 will operate for sales representatives. It also states that a number of staff who were in Grade 6 would continue to hold the associated benefits on a personal basis.
2. The current salary package paid to sales representatives compares very favourably with those of competitor companies. The Group has paid all increases due under PNR, PESP, PCW and Partnership 2000 unlike many other companies.
3. The Group competes in a vigorous competitive market with a large number of competitors. Concession of the Union's claim for the staff concerned would have serious implications for other categories of staff throughout the group of companies.
Having considered the submissions of the parties the Court is satisfied that the House Agreement of 7th March, 1984, between the Group and the former ITGWU provides that the appropriate grades for sales representatives are Grades 4 and 5. It is further satisfied that Grade 6 is only appropriate for those assigned special responsibility of a supervisory nature.
In those circumstances the Court recommends that the Company clarify the criteria for assimilation to Grade 6, including the range of responsibilities and duties appropriate to that grade.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
5th March, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.