INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. 1. Improvements to sick pay scheme.
2. Improvements to pension scheme.
3. Profit Sharing Introduction.
2. The Union has submitted a claim on behalf of sales staff employed by the Company nation-wide for an improvement in the pension scheme; sick pay scheme and for the introduction of a profit share/share options scheme. It states that the claim is in keeping with the spirit and letter of Partnership 2000.
The Union claims that its members have co-operated with the significant changes which have taken place within the Company, particularly in the matter of trading hours. This co-operation is reflected in the success of the Company and its ability to expand.
Union - Sick Pay
The Union is seeking an increase in the sick pay scheme as follows:
0-5 years service 6 weeks' full pay plus 6 weeks' half pay
6-10 years service 13 weeks' full pay plus 13 weeks' half pay
11-15 years service 26 weeks' full pay plus 26 weeks' half pay
15+ years service and over 26 weeks' full pay plus 6 weeks' half pay
and pro-rata for part-time staff.
Union - Pension Scheme
At present the Company has a non-contributory pension scheme based on half salary on retirement. The Union wants this increased to two-thirds on retirement. On death in service, the pension scheme provides for one year annual salary entitlement. The Union wants this increased to 3 years' annual salary plus 50% pension provision for spouses.
Union - Profit Sharing
The Union is seeking the introduction of a profit sharing scheme which is provided for within the context of Chapter 9 of Partnership 2000.
Company - Sick Pay
The Company claims that a survey carried out by IBEC placed the Company's sick pay scheme in the top quartile. It states that its sick pay scheme is above the average of its comparable competitors and is not prepared to entertain further improvements in the scheme.
Company - Pension Scheme
The Company states that it operates a non-contributory pension scheme and that employees can enhance their pensionable entitlements by additional voluntary contributions. It argues that any change in pension benefits should be within the remuneration arrangements effective in the post Partnership 2000 period. The Company will present proposals to change the pension benefits, which will relate to future service, and the extent to which a contribution might be made by employees.
Company - Profit Sharing
The Company claims that in view of its contributions in relation to the staff pension scheme, it is not prepared to discuss involvement in a profit sharing scheme.
As no agreement was possible between the parties, the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held on the 21st of July, 1999 and the 27th of August, 1999, but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 2nd of September, 1999, under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 15th of November, 1999.
Sick Pay Scheme
3. 1. The Union is seeking a substantial increase in the Company's sick pay scheme as the current level of contribution is unsatisfactory.
2. The actual cost to the employer of an improved sick pay scheme as advocated by the Union would amount to about sixty pounds a week.
3. Management grades in the Company have unlimited sick leave cover. The same conditions of employment should also apply to our members.
4. 1. The Company's sick pay scheme is not out of line with similar schemes which operate in the retail sector.
2. The current sick pay scheme is generous. The Company is not in a position to improve on the sick pay scheme.
5. 1. The Union is seeking an increase in the Company's pension scheme from forty-eightieths (½) of annual salary to forty-sixtieths (2/3) of annual salary after forty years' service.
2. The accrual rate at one-eightieth is out of line with the vast majority of schemes in the private sector where a rate of one-sixtieth applies.
3. The death in service provision is also seriously deficient in that it only applies to staff at age thirty and there is no provision for a spouse's pension.
4. There is no pension cover for staff who are below the age of thirty. Most pension schemes would have a lump sum of three or four years' salary plus a spouse's pension.
6. 1. The Company propose that any change in pension benefits should be within the remuneration arrangements effective in the post Partnership 2000 period.
2. The current pension scheme is funded solely by the Company. Each employee has the facility to enhance their pension entitlements by additional voluntary contributions.
3. The Company is prepared to change the pension benefits, which will relate to future service, in the light of what is reasonably possible, as well as the extent to which a contribution might be made by members.
7. 1. The Union is seeking the introduction of a profit sharing scheme with a share option provision.
2. Under Partnership 2000 it has been all one way traffic with Management taking all the advantages of that agreement and not willing to share the benefits.
3. If the staff contribute to the achievement of the Company they are entitled to share in the fruits of their labour.
8. 1. The Company is not prepared to consider a profit sharing scheme.
Having considered the submissions of the parties, the Court recommends that the review of the pension scheme as promised by the Company should be undertaken and proposals on a variation of the scheme should be put to the Union by the 31st of January, 2000.
With regard to the claim for an improvement in the sick pay scheme, the Court is satisfied that the scheme as operated by the Company is not out of line with comparable employments and consequently do not concede the Union's claim.
The Union has put forward a claim for the introduction of a profit sharing scheme in line with Chapter 9 of Partnership 2000. The Union maintain that there is a moral obligation on the Company to introduce such a scheme, while the Company hold the view that the introduction of such a scheme under Partnership 2000 is voluntary. The Court recognises the voluntary nature of this provision. However, the Court notes that the social partners in concluding Partnership 2000, recognised that benefits can accrue from profit sharing schemes and the Court recommends that the Company should review the situation in this light.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th December, 1999.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.