INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CHIVERS IRELAND LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
AMALGAMATED ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. (1) 2% Local Bargaining element of Partnership 2000 (P2000);
(2) Credit Transfer;
(3) Documentation and recording of maintenance work;
(4) Control of overtime.
2. The Company, which is part of the Hillsdown Group, is located in Coolock, Dublin 5, and employs a staff of 125, including 6 craft operators affected by this dispute. The Company is involved in the production of preserves for both the domestic, United Kingdom and other markets.
The dispute concerns the payment of the 2% pay increase under the local bargaining clause of P2000, in return for which the Company is seeking the changes in relation to (2), (3) and (4) above. The Company states that co-operation and on-going change are central to the future of the plant and that such change has been provided for in local agreements and under the terms of P2000. The Union's position is that the Company has not pleaded inability to pay and, accordingly, the 2% increase should be paid without conditions attached. On the specific changes sought by the Company, the Union's view is that
(i) the workers concerned are opposed to the introduction of payment by Credit Transfer for a variety of reasons;
(ii) an increase of 5% should be paid for the recording of maintenance work;
(iii) any less overtime than the guaranteed minimum of 4 hours (when overtime is required) is of no real value to the workers.
The dispute was the subject of 3 conciliation conferences, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, at which agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court, on the 6th of January, 1999, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court carried out its investigation on the 22nd of February, 1999.
1. Co-operation and commitment to ongoing change are critical to the future of the plant and the Company will not be able to respond to cost, customer and quality requirements without acceptance of such change. Provision for such change has already been made in local agreements and also under the terms of the national programme, P2000 (details supplied to the Court).
2. The Company requires certain documentation to be completed to record both planned and unplanned maintenance and to comply with customer requirements, efficient operation of production and engineering functions, ISO 900, Q Mark, good manufacturing practice/accessibility requirements, etc. The recording sought is not onerous and, given the more sophisticated approach to maintenance and probable development of electronic recording, the Union stance is at variance with modern industrial practice and business requirements.
3. The move to a credit transfer arrangement is necessary for security, health/safety and cost reasons (details supplied to the Court).
4. While the Company requires a fitter to do overtime to cover procedures for approximately 1½ hours at the end of shift, the fitters' insistence on a minimum of 4 hours' overtime has implications for cost and efficiency. The Company requires that the normal practice of fitters performing overtime be accepted.
1. The Company has, at no time, claimed inability to pay the 2% increase and on that basis it should be paid retrospectively, and without concessions from the workers concerned.
2. The claim for 5% increase in respect of 'recording' is reasonable, based on the reduction in fitters' numbers, the increase in plant to be serviced and the taking on by fitters of supervisor work.
3. All of the craft group are opposed to payment by credit transfer due to
(i) bank charges that would be incurred
(iii) not being allowed time off to go to the bank
(iv) the risk of wages not being received on time.
4. The particular issue in relation to overtime concerns a 4-hour period at the end of shift and occurs infrequently, e.g., in the case of annual leave or sick leave. Shift ends at 3 pm and washdown takes until 7 pm. The process could not be concluded any quicker. Additionally, this overtime has been a regular part of earnings for years. The workers also believe that there should be no requirement by the Company to reduce overtime in a situation where contract workers continue to do duties that the maintenance team could be engaged in.
The Court recommends that the 2% increase under Clause 2 (iii) of the Partnership 2000 should be implemented, without precondition, from July, 1998.
As part of the Union's commitment to on-going change in Partnership 2000, Chapter 9 (15), the Court recommends that the parties should meet to discuss how the other items which were the subject of this dispute can be implemented, i.e., documentation and recording of maintenance work, control of overtime and the introduction of credit transfer. When discussing the changeover from payment by cash to credit transfer, every effort should be made to address the fears expressed by employees in relation to its implementation consequences.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th March, 1999.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.