INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
IRISH ALE BREWERIES
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Improvements in pension.
2. The claim is on behalf of 37 workers in the Ballyfermot distribution depot - 32 members on road, forklift and yard duties, and 5 members who are supervisory/foremen. The claim is for the inclusion of an operating allowance of £112.30 per week in calculation of pensionable pay for both sections. The foremen are also seeking the inclusion of an early-start allowance of £48.00, giving them a total allowance of £160.30. The Company is part of the Guinness Ireland Group (GIG).
In 1996, an agreement between the parties - Plan 2000 - was made which saw the deletion of the existing overtime productivity values and its replacement with a 39 hour week (details supplied to the Court). The agreed solution was the operating allowance of £112.30 per week. The current pay for the 32 workers (general section) is basic of £424.10 which is pensionable and the operating allowance of £112.30 which is non-pensionable. Pay for the supervisory section is a basic of £570.00 (pensionable), operating allowance of £112.30 (non-pensionable) and early-start allowance of £48.00 (non-pensionable).
The Union claims that the operating and early-start allowances are constant 52 weeks per year payments. The operating allowance would equate to £5,839 per year for the general workers, with the operating plus early start allowances worth £8,335 to the foremen. In February, 1998, the Company offered to make £2,800 of the operating allowance pensionable in return for a number of changes in work practices. The allowance was to be fully backfunded. The Union rejected the offer.
The dispute was first referred to the Labour Relations Commission in March 1998, and, following the Union's rejection of the offer, it was referred to the Labour Court on the 13th of May, 1999, in accordance with Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 15th of July, 1999.
1. The Company is now an integral part of GIG. All the general benefits applying to workers concerned are similar to those enjoyed by their colleagues on all brewery sites, with the exception of the definition of pensionable pay. In St. James's Gate, pensionable pay is 80% of earnings rather than the much narrower definition that applies in Ballyfermot. The pension scheme is common to both depots.
2. The agreement in 1996 meant that the workers agreed to new operating procedures involving extra duties, as well as co-operating with an increased number of hired transport operators. They also forfeited overtime of 20 hours per week. As a result, gross earnings dropped dramatically in both sections.
3. The pension scheme is in a financially healthy position and has increased in value from £288 million in 1990 to £910 million in 1997. Guinness Ireland is a hugely successful company.
4. The pension fund operated on the basis of 1/60th of basic pay for every year of service, up to a maximum of 40/60ths. For a general worker on basic pay, the potential pensionable pay is £282.73 per week. If the operating allowance is included, this will increase to £357.60 per week, an increase of £74.87 per week to a driver with full service.
1. The Union's claim would impose a considerable cost increase on the Company and, therefore, is debarred under the terms of Partnership 2000.
2. Under the terms of the Ballyfermot Plan 2000 Agreement in 1996, a basic pay increase of 19% was awarded to all employees who qualify for pension. There was no corresponding pay increase to the workers in St. James's Gate.
3. The Company's offer to include £2,800 of the allowance as pensionable earnings is very generous. Because of the cost involved, the offer would have to be offset by productivity charges, as happened in St. James's Gate. The charges sought are fair and reasonable.
The Court considers this claim inadmissable under the terms of the PCW and Partnership 2000, as the present pension arrangements are not out of line with comparable employments.
However, the Union wishes to improve the terms of the pension scheme on a basis which the Court does not consider unreasonable, and the Company wishes to offset any cost-increasing improvements in the pension scheme by improvements in working arrangements. Accordingly, the Court recommends that arrangements should be negotiated which are satisfactory to both parties.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
4th August, 1999.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.