INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LUFTHANSA AIRMOTIVE IRELAND LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
AMALGAMATED, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Loyalty payment.
2. Airmotive Ireland Limited was established in 1979 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Aer Lingus, to provide jet engine overhaul facilities to domestic and international airlines. Lufthansa Technik, a subsidiary of Lufthansa Airline, acquired a majority shareholding in the company in 1997 and is now the sole shareholder. The Company has been trading as Lufthansa Airmotive Ireland since January, 1997. It employs 450 people, of whom 330 are represented by the three Unions in the current dispute.
The Unions' claim is for a loyalty payment, to be expressed in two ways:-
(a) a lump sum of £1,000 (tax paid) per annum applied with retrospective effect (members with less service to be paid on a pro-rata basis), and,
(b) a substantial increase in basic pay (20% on each point of each scale).
The Unions claim that in 1994, at a time when the Company was in difficulties, management promised that all employees would be rewarded when the position of the Company improved, but that this promise has not been kept. In 1994, there was a major redundancy programme in the Company, with 34 workers leaving. Since 1994, there has been a number of attempts made to improve the fortunes of the Company, and also industrial relations within it. This has included using the services of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), a joint review team (JRT), a teamwork process (since discontinued) and the services of a facilitator.
At a final conciliation conference on the 21st of September, 1999, a number of proposals were made, including the addition of £1,650 to each point of each scale, and recognition of previous experience, in return for changes in work practices. This offer was rejected by the Unions, and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 21st of October, 1999, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 19th of November, 1999.
3. 1. In 1994, management told the workers that the Company was in a serious loss-making position. The workforce was told that in the case of an up-turn in the Company's fortune, they would share in the benefits. Despite the Company achieving its highest ever output in 1997, the workers have not benefited.
2. Pay levels in the Company are low. None of the Company's offers to-date have been sufficient. Indeed, the offer to the Unions' claim for travel concession was so restrictive that it resulted in the collapse of team-working at the Company.
3. The workers were responsible in a major way for the improvements in the Company, dating back to 1992, when there was serious rationalisation and increased flexibility.
4. 1. The Unions' claim is in breach of Partnership 2000. The Company has at all times honoured the national agreements. It has also introduced a gainsharing scheme amounting to pre-tax sums of £1,500 - £2,000 per annum, associated with the operation of teamwork.
2. A number of Company offers, including those drawn up with the help of the facilitator, were rejected by the Union.
3. The Company rejects the contention that it should pay a loyalty bonus in respect of past employment. The offer made at the conciliation conference of the 21st of September (£1,650 on all points of all scales) is very generous, and acknowledges the value which the Company attaches to its employees.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
The Court is satisfied that the claim for an increase in basic pay is precluded under Partnership 2000 and, therefore, rejectes this claim.
However, the Court notes that discussions have taken place over a lengthy period to resolve the issues in dispute, resulting in a number of proposals being brought forward, even an additional offer from the Company at the hearing.
The Court recommends that the employees accept the proposals put forward by the Labour Relations Commission. In return, the Company to pay £1,000 lump sum to each employee covered by this claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th December, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.