INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
SPRING GROVE SERVICES (IRELAND) LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. 1. Lunch allowance; 2. Overnight rates.
2. The Union has submitted a claim on behalf of its members for increases in subsistence allowances as follows:- (a) lunch allowance and (b) overnight rates.
Employees are currently paid £2.00 per day lunch money for city runs and an additional sum of £3.65 per day for country runs. The Union claims that prior to discussions on harmonisation the rate for country runs was £5.00 per day.
The Company claims that an agreement was reached in 1996 which detailed the expenses and allowances payable to drivers. The agreement did not provide for a lunch allowance on country runs.
The Union states that the country lunch allowance was never discussed while the Company argues that it was.
The current overnight allowance is £35.00. The Union claims that this rate should move in line with the general wage movement. The Company states that any movement in the overnight allowance should be in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
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 3rd of December, 1998 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 15th of December, 1998 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 22nd of February, 1999.
3. 1. The subsistence allowances paid by the Company are out of line with allowances paid by competitor companies.
2. The increases being sought by the Union are modest and will bring the Company into line with the norms of the industry.
3. The current level of allowances have been in place for a long time without any increases accruing to them.
4. There has been a significant increase in the profitability of the Company. The increases being sought are modest and should be conceded by the Company.
4. 1. The Company has always attempted to do well for its employees. In comparison with others in the industry the basic wages and allowances are good.
2. Competiton in the industrial laundry area has intensified greatly over the past number of years. The Company has to remain competitive or it will lose market share to its competitors.
3. The existing allowances are generous and the employees concerned are allowed a great deal of flexibility in relation to their work.
4. The Company has complied with and are fully up to date in all aspects of Partnership 2000. The claims could be viewed as cost increasing and contrary to Clause 9 of Partnership 2000.
The Court notes that the rate of allowances now in dispute were agreed between the parties in April, 1996. That agreement replaced any previous arrangements and was not based on comparison with the rate of similar allowances paid in any other employment.
The employer accepts that the rates payable should be reviewed. The Union's position is that in such a review the rate should be brought into line with those payable in similar employments. As noted above, the agreement of 1996 is not based on comparison with any other employment, and for that reason the Union's claim is not well founded.
The Court believes that a more appropriate approach would be to update the allowance with reference to the erosion in money values which has taken place since their introduction.
The Court, therefore, recommends that the allowances be adjusted as follows:-
The daily local lunch should be increased to £2.15 per day with effect from the 8th June, 1998 and to be further increased to £2.40 per day by the end of Partnership 2000.
The country lunch allowance should be increased in four phases as follows:-
June, 1998 December, 1998 July, 1999 End P.2000
£3.90 £4.25 £4.50 £5.00
The allowances should in future be increased by reference to the consumer price index.
The Court does not recommend any increase in the current overnight stay rate, but this rate should in future be increased by the consumer price index.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th February, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.