INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
MUSGRAVE CASH AND CARRY LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Dispute concerning roster condition related to permanency at the Limerick Branch.
2. Musgrave Cash and Carry Limited is a wholesale company which supplies a range of grocery and hardware goods to independent retailers. It has six branches nationwide and employs 500 workers. The Limerick branch employs approximately 58 workers.
The dispute concerns a claim by the Union that in the event of a number of part-time workers being offered full-time contracts in the future, these should be on the basis of working a 5 over 5 day week. The Company is seeking an agreement that new permanent staff should work a 5 over 6 day roster i.e. Saturday working as part of the normal roster. Previously at a conciliation conference held under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, the Company agreed to make four workers (employed on a temporary basis) permanent on a 5 over 5 roster. Subsequently, the Union claimed that it could agree to future permanent appointments being made on the basis of a 5 over 6 roster, provided that a further three named workers would be offered 5 over 5 rosters, should the Company be in a position to offer permanent contracts to these three workers in the future. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 12th of November, 1997. Agreement was not possible. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 7th of January, 1998. A Court hearing was held in Limerick on the 10th of March, 1998.
3. 1. The Company decided without consultation with the Union to implement new contracts of employment on the basis of a "5 over 6 roster for employees who were to be made permanent. The Union was opposed to this on the basis that all existing permanent employees worked on the basis of a 5 over 5 roster and were paid overtime rates if they worked on a Saturday.
2. The seven workers previously mentioned worked on Saturdays i.e. on a 5 over 6 roster while temporary, but fully expected that when it came to their turn to be made permanent, they would be treated like existing permanent employees at work on the basis of a 5 over 5 roster.
3. It is grossly unfair that the Company should make four of the seven permanent on a 5 over 5 roster and then to expect the remaining three to work a 5 over 6 roster when they are made permanent.
4. The Union is still prepared to make the offer that all future employees being made permanent would work on the basis of a 5 over 6 roster on condition that the remaining three named individuals be given a 5 over 5 roster.
4. 1. In recent years due to increasing customer demand there has been a significant increase in the number of cash and carry operations extending trading hours to include late opening Mondays and Thursdays in addition to Saturday trading. These developments have led to 5 over 6 working becoming a regular feature of contracts of employment. The Company's main competitor in Limerick has always operated 5 over 6 day working.
2. At conciliation the Company offered 5 over 5 permanent contracts to four workers. It also agreed to the Unions claim to offer two temporary workers permanent contracts on a 5 over 5 basis, despite the fact that these two workers were at that time employed on a 5 over 6 contract. The Company also agreed to offer similar permanent contracts to a further two workers who were also working in a temporary capacity at the time.
3. The Company addressed, substantially, the Union concerns at the time. However, it could not accept the Union's additional claim that a further three workers be offered 5 over 5 contracts.
4. The Company must operate as cost efficiently as possible in a very competitive market. Where it is forced to pay premium overtime rates for work done in what is now commonly regarded as part of normal operations, this represents an inefficient and clearly unsustainable position. The Company is clearly disadvantaged because some of its major rivals are currently enjoying the use of 5 over 6 day contracts. It must have the flexibility to trade 5 over a 6 day week.
The Court notes that the original conditions set by the Union for the introduction of 5 over 6 day working was that four named individuals be given permanent contracts in a 5 over 5 day basis. This condition has subsequently been met by the Company.
In these circumstances the Court recommends that the Union accept the Company's proposals for the introduction of 5 over 6 day working for all new permanent full-time employees.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th March, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.