INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Dispute concerning the chargehand rate for one electrician.
2. The Company manufactures cast iron cookers and stoves for Irish and export markets and employs approximately 320 workers.
The dispute relates to the application of a chargehand rate of 10% of basic salary to one electrician. An agreement was reached with the fitters in 1989 which provided for the creation of four fitter chargehand positions on the basis of additional duties and responsibilities. Although the agreement was specific to fitters, over the years the application of the chargehand rate to electricians has followed the criteria laid down under the fitters' agreement. Three electricians are currently employed on a three shift cycle - one per shift. Two electricians currently receive the chargehand rate. The Union claims the application of the chargehand rate to the third electrician on the basis that he fulfils the criteria set down in the agreement.
The Union stated that there would be no consequential claims. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 2nd of September, 1998. Agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 8th of September, 1998. A Court hearing was held in Waterford on the 9th of February, 1999.
3. 1. The worker concerned has been working as a shift chargehand since August, 1995. Currently all three electricians have the same responsibilities. The two electricians who receive the chargehand rate have no supervisory authority over the worker concerned.
2. Every other member of the Maintenance Department working shift is in receipt of the chargehand rate. All have received this rate having worked in the system for a period exceeding two years. This rate is applied because of the nature of the shift arrangement and because this role is self-supervisory.
3. The worker concerned satisfies these conditions. His duties are exactly the same as those carried out by the other shift chargehand personnel. It is totally unacceptable that the rate appropriate to this position is denied to the worker. The Company is in breach of the 1989 agreement in denying the worker the payment.
4. 1. The claim is not related to any additional duties or responsibilities undertaken by the claimant. There is adequate chargehand capacity with two chargehands to carry out all the necessary extra duties and responsibilities associated with the chargehand rate (details supplied to the Court). There is no requirement for the claimant to become involved in any of these duties, nor has management ever asked the claimant to undertake these duties.
2. At no time during the operation of the agreement have all electricians been chargehands and it is obvious that concession of this claim will lead to 'knock-on' claims from the five fitters who are not chargehands, that they should be paid the chargehand rate. The claim could also have repercussive effects amongst other grades.
3. The Company made a reasonable proposal that the claimant would be paid 8 hours chargehand rate on any day during which either of the chargehands was absent or on holidays and he was instructed to carry out any of the chargehand responsibilities by management. The offer was rejected by the Union.
The Court noted the written and oral submissions made by the parties and considers that in order to resolve this dispute, the offer as proposed by the Company is reasonable and should be accepted;
the Claimant to be paid the 10% differential, when he is required to cover for the electrical chargehand and also when he is the sole electrician on site during the late shift.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th February, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.