INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ROCHES STORES (STRAND ST)
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Pay and conditions.
2. The Union's claim is on behalf of approximately 33 clerical staff who are employed in the Accounts and Payroll Section of Roches Stores. The Company and the Union have concluded deals in eleven stores on a package of proposals covering Clause 3 of PESP (3%), the 2% local bargaining clause of Partnership 2000, the revision of the Christmas bonus and the introduction of service related holidays.
In May, 1999, the Company put forward proposals for a draft agreement to be applied to the clerical staff in Strand Street. These proposals were rejected, as were revised proposals which were put forward in July, 1999. The issue was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on the 8th of October, 1999. As agreement was not possible at conciliation, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 2nd of November, 1999, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 26th of November, 1999.
3. 1. Since 1997 there have been constant difficulties with regard to accommodation, staffing levels and the provision of overtime. Staffing has reduced from 70 to 33, resulting in significant savings to the Company.
2. It is no longer appropriate that clerical and administrative workers continue to be linked to the shop assistant scale. Pay and conditions of clerical staff should be comparable to those agreed with other similar employments such as Brown Thomas and Penneys (details of rates supplied to the Court).
3. The current pay scale is insufficient to attract and retain clerical workers. New entrants are now placed at the top point of the scale. The opening of a new store in Newry has also resulted in increased productivity which warrants additional remuneration.
4. 1. The Company's proposal of July, 1999, is a generous proposal providing for an increase of almost 10% annually. It has been accepted by over 3,500 staff who have given greater concessions than those sought from the claimants.
2. The claimants are seeking increases in pay which are clearly in breach of Partnership 2000. The Company expects the Union and the staff to honour its commitments by not serving a cost increasing claim.
3. The Union's claim is unreasonable and is totally out of line with agreements reached elsewhere in the Company.
In so far as this claim constitutes a general wage claim for the staff concerned, it is clearly precluded by Clause 6 of Partnership 2000.
However, the Union has based its claim on similar adjustments in the pay of clerical and administrative staff in other retail outlets. On behalf of the Company it was pointed out that in those cases the overall agreement provided for sufficient off-setting measures to contain the cost involved within the parameters of Partnership 2000.
The Court recommends that the parties explore the possibility of adopting a similar approach in this case. Further negotiations should now take place with a view to identifying off-setting measures which could allow for an improvement in the offer previously made in response to this claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th December, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.