INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
SMURFIT WEB PRESS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH PRINTING FEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Claim for provision of transport.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns the Union's claim on behalf of eight workers employed in the Company's Bindery Department for the provision of transport following the introduction of shift working.
In January, 1998 the workers were moved from day shift (8.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.) to a double pay shift pattern. The early shift starts at 6.00 a.m. and the late shift finishes at 10.00 p.m.
The Union argues that public transport is not available in the morning prior to 6.00 a.m. and that in the past employees working on day shift were provided with transport when required to work overtime late at night and, that, a similar arrangement applied to other categories of worker who were required to work overtime before the start of normal working.
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 2nd of February, 1998. As agreement could not be reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 27th of February, 1998 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 28th of April, 1998.
3. 1. When the Company previously operated a double day shift it provided transport for the workers concerned.
2. Prior to this dispute the Company provided transport for staff who were required to work overtime late at night or at weekends. The Company has withdrawn this facility due to the current dispute.
3. The Smurfit Group of Companies who operate in this industry provide transport to its employees employed on shift work which requires early morning attendances and late night finishes.
4. Smurfit Web is adjacent to two other Smurfit Companies who provide transport for its employees, one of the companies operates the same shift pattern operated by the workers concerned. The Union sought to explore the possibility of merging the transport arrangements between the two companies.
5. The workers' claim is justified on the basis that they are exposed to potential dangers by the early start and late finish of the shifts. Most of the employees do not have private transport and incur considerable expense travelling to and from work.
4. 1. While the Bindery Department has virtually always operated on a single-day basis, the other departments, i.e., Pre-press, Litho and Maintenance have all operated on either a double shift or treble shift basis, at no time has the provision of transport ever been a condition of employment. The Company is not prepared, nor could it afford to accept that the Bindery Department should be afforded this concession.
2. The Company accepts that from time to time, as circumstances require, i.e., working excessively late, requiring staff in the middle of the night, getting employees home or to hospital in emergencies, the Company had provided transport, but this has always been discretionary and has never been limited to the requirements of shift work.
The Court having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties does not recommend concession of the Union claim in this case.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
8th May, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.