INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
IRISH BISCUITS LIMITED
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
BAKERS AND FOOD WORKERS' AMALGAMATED UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Rate of pay.
2. The Company's main business is the manufacture and sale of a range of biscuit products under the "Jacobs" and "Bolands" label. It employs 600 full-time and 170 seasonal workers mainly at its Tallaght factory and 40 within Northern Ireland.
In April, 1997 agreement was reached between the parties for the introduction of annualised hours. The agreement which was reached on foot of LCR15456 provided for the red-circling in the annualised hours' system of previous gross earnings.
The dispute before the Court concerns the Union's claim on behalf of approximately 63 workers, who, for many years prior to the 1997 agreement worked Saturday overtime on a regular basis. The Union is seeking that the income earned from Saturday overtime be red-circled in addition to their annual hours contract. Management rejects the claim.
The position with regard to this group is that their previous gross earnings, including Saturday overtime, gives them a rate of pay which they would have received anyway under the terms of the Labour Court recommendation.
Local level discussions failed to resolve the issue and the matter was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference took place on the 13th of November, 1997. As agreement could not be reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 7th of January, 1998 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th of February, 1998.
3. 1. The workers had an expectation that their Saturday payments would be included in their weekly pay under the new annualised hours' system. During information meetings held prior to the introduction of annualised hours, this group was left in no doubt that its income for Saturday working would be protected under the new arrangements.
2. When the new arrangements were introduced in June, 1997 the workers concerned were shocked to discover that they were no better off financially than their colleagues who never worked on Saturdays.
3. The Saturday overtime was obligatory and was included in the calculation for the purpose of holiday pay. There is no doubt that management gave this group an expectation that its Saturday payment would be red-circled. In the circumstances the workers feel that they have been penalised and treated unfairly by management.
4. 1. The workers concerned are being treated in an identical fashion to all other workers on site. They are in receipt of the same earnings they received prior to the introduction of annualised hours but no longer work Saturday overtime to achieve those earnings.
2. The earnings of the employees concerned in the P60 year 1996/1997 were less than or equal to the new contract values for this group on the introduction of annual hours' contracts. Therefore, the Company's obligation to this group of employees has been fulfilled and its claim should fail.
Having considered the submissions from the parties and examining the background and historical involvement of the claim, the Court finds it would not be justified in recommending concession of the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
11th March, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.