INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
O'DONOVANS (PRINCES ST)
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Various issues under Clause 3 of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress (PESP).
2. In February, 1996, the Union submitted a claim for payment of a 3% pay increase under Clause 3 of PESP. The claim was discussed at a conciliation conference at the Labour Relations Commission on the 30th of July, 1996, which was then adjourned to enable the Company to formulate proposals. The Company's proposals were later rejected by the Union and the dispute was the subject of a further conciliation conference on the 11th of November, 1997. The Industrial Relations Officer put forward a proposal (details supplied to the Court) which was accepted by the Company but was rejected by the Union.
The Union requested referral of the dispute to the Labour Court in November, 1997, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The dispute was referred to the Court on the 20th of March, 1998. On the 2nd of April, 1998, the Union called a general meeting (to be held on the 8th of April, 1998) to ballot for industrial action. The Labour Court investigated the dispute in Cork on the 8th of April, 1998.
3. 1. The Union believes that since February, 1996, the employees have given increased productivity to the Company by way of co-operation, flexibility and increased workloads.
2. The issue of Sunday trading, which is included in the Company's proposals, should not form part of any discussions under Clause 3 but should be negotiated separately. In addition an agreement is already in place regarding cleaning up time, although the Company has not adhered to it.
3. Experienced staff were transferred and were not replaced. The staff changed their summer holidays to enable the Company to open a new branch in Wilton. Workloads have also increased with the introduction of new products. Productivity has therefore been increased, thus complying with the terms of Clause 3.
4. 1. Although the PESP had expired in August, 1994, as a gesture of goodwill the Company agreed to consider making a payment under the agreement in return for certain concessions. It is an integral part of the agreement that concessions must be made to protect the competitiveness of the Company and to address the need for flexibility and change.
2. The Company has put forward reasonable proposals and was prepared to discuss them at all stages. The Union has consistently rejected all proposals and has sought payment without making any concessions in return. The claim is, therefore, a cost increasing claim which is precluded under PESP, PCW and Partnership 2000.
Clause 3 of PESP, under which this claim is made, requires the concession of specific cost-offsetting measures in return for an increase of up to 3%. The Court does not accept the Union's contention that measures already in place can be taken into account for that purpose.
Having considered the submissions of the parties the Court recommends that the proposal put forward at conciliation (and confirmed in the IRO's letter of 17th November, 1997) be accepted on the following understanding:-
1. Sunday working should be on a voluntary basis for staff employed prior to December, 1996.
2. The terms of the agreement are to cover not more than ten Sundays per year, four of which will be immediately prior to Christmas.
The Court further recommends that the 3% increase be applied on the basis of 1.5% with effect from 1st December, 1996, and 1.5% from the date of this recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
13th May, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.