INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. (1) Increase in wage rate; (2) Introduction of sick pay scheme.
2. LBJ Catering is a Contract Catering Company based in Galway. It has a contract with C.R. Bard Ltd., a multi-national company to provide catering services at its plant. The Company currently employs 13 at the Bard site.
The Union is seeking an increase in the hourly rate of pay from £4.26 per hour to £5.00 per hour. It is prepared to agree a phased introduction of the increase in the case of new employees.
The Union claims that Clause 4 of Partnership 2000 permits claims for the introduction of a sick pay scheme in cases where no scheme exists.
The Company claims that it pays in excess of the Joint Labour Committee (JLC) rates of pay; that all of its employees get this rate, whereas the JLC provides for lower rates for some categories of workers and that the claim is in breach of Clause 6 of Partnership 2000.
The Company claims that it operates in a sector where sick pay schemes do not exist and the Company is not in a financial position to take on the extra costs involved.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Services of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 11th of September, 1997 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 17th of September, 1997 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 5th of March, 1998.
Increase in rate of pay:
3. 1. An increase in the rate of pay is justified based on the length of service some employees have and the increased work load.
2. The Union is seeking an increase in the hourly rate from £4.26 per hour to £5.00 per hour. It is prepared to accept the phased introduction of the increase in the case of new employees.
3. There is a high turnover of staff at the Company mainly due to the low rates of pay on offer.
4. 1. The Company's rate of pay is higher than the JLC rates of pay and is also paid in advance of the JLC date.
2. The JLC rates also provides for a deduction of £7.00 per week where food is provided but the Company does not make any reduction in this regard.
3. The Company operates in a very competitive market. It must keep costs to a minimum or it will lose out to its competitors.
Sick Pay Scheme:
5. 1. Clause 4 of Partnership 2000 provides for claims for the introduction of a sick pay scheme where no scheme currently exists.
2. Campbell Catering operate a sick pay scheme for their workforce which provides for sick pay benefit of four days after1.5 years' service and twenty days after 3.5 years' service.
6. 1. The Company currently has an absenteeism problem and considers that the introduction of a sick pay scheme would exacerbate the problem.
2. Because of the competitive nature of the contract catering business, the Company is not in a position to absorb any further costs which a sick pay scheme would involve.
The Court has considered the submissions on both claims and finds as follows:-
1. Increase in Wage Rates:- Concession of this claim would be contrary to the terms of Programme 2000 and accordingly the Court does not recommend its concession.
2. The Court recommends that the parties enter into negotiations for the introduction of a suitable sick pay scheme.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th March, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.