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 McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Compensation for loss of overtime.
2. The Company manufactures and distributes soft drinks. In June, 1998, the Company and the Union reached agreement to change the basis of overtime working from "guaranteed" to "as required". The agreement provided for a payment of £1,200 and the Company was to address any claims for loss of overtime earnings.
The Union claims that overtime working has since dropped to a very low level and as a result the workers have suffered a substantial loss in earnings. The Union is seeking compensation for this loss.
The Company claims that the drop in overtime working is directly related to a fall in business and that it is not in a financial position to pay any compensation.
As no agreement was possible between the parties, the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 18th of August, 1999 but no agreement was reached. The Industrial Relations Officer put forward proposals to resolve the dispute but they were rejected by the Company. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 6th of September, 1999 under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 18th of November, 1999.
3. 1. Overtime has reduced from thirteen hours per week to two hours per week. The workers should be compensated for this loss.
2. The Company is a profitable one and worker's earnings should have some protection.
3. The workers concerned have suffered a substantial loss in earnings. They have even lost the benefit of Partnership 2000 in real terms.
4. 1. The Company operates in a very competitive market. It must keep costs down or it will lose out to its competitors.
2. There is no such thing as guaranteed overtime. The current decline in overtime is due to market forces.
3. The Company is not in a financial position to pay compensation for the loss of overtime earnings.
4. Concession of the claim would lead to follow-on claims.
This claim for compensation for loss of overtime stems from the fact that when an agreement was reached in June, 1998 on a similar issue the parties did not envisage the substantial drop in overtime which was about to occur. At that time an amount of £1,200 was paid in two phases. The Court recommends that a further £400 should be paid by the 18th December, 1999 in full and final settlement of this claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.