INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
J AND Z BLACKMAN
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
MARINE, PORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Relativity claim.
2. The Company is a manufacturing jewellery and diamond merchant. Its products are mainly sold wholesale, but the Company also accepts work on a commission basis from individual customers. The Company employs sixteen people who are paid a basic salary plus a bonus.
One of the employees, "a mounter", who is a highly skilled craftsman, is not involved in the bonus system. The Company agreed a salary increase of £20 per week for this worker to maintain his relativity with the other employees.
The Union claims that the Company is in breach of the Company/Union agreement on pay and states that the £20 wage increase given to this worker should apply to all the employees.
The Company rejected the Union's claim and stated that it always adhered to the agreement and states that in this particular case it had notified the Union, at local level, prior to introducing the increase.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 8th of February, 1999 but no agreement was reached.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 25th of February, 1999 under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 2nd of June, 1999.
3. 1. The Company is in breach of a long-standing agreement in relation to pay for the different grades within the Company.
2. An agreement was reached in 1990 and 1994 in relation to the salary scale for the grade of "mounter" because this employee was not part of the bonus scheme.
3. The Company has implemented this increase without consultation with the members or the Union.
4. The Union is seeking the application of the £20.00 increase to all employees covered by the existing agreement within the Company.
4. 1. The employee concerned is a very experienced craftsman who has always enjoyed a differential over the other craftworkers within the Company. The differential has been eroded because of the bonus scheme.
2. The bonus scheme does not apply to this particular craftsman because of the highly individual and artistic nature of the work involved.
3. The Company informed the shop committee of the proposed salary increase. It was indicated to the Company by the committee that there would be no knock-on claims involved.
4. The current claim by the Union is unwarranted. The salary of the craftsman concerned has been consistently eroded since 1992. The £20.00 increase merely restores the relativity between the other grades.
The Court having considered the written and oral submissions does not recommend concession of the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th June, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.