INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
COCA COLA BOTTLERS IRELAND LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Parity for 4 ex-Mullingar drivers with 'price per case' of Dublin drivers.
2. The dispute concerns 4 drivers who were based in the Company's Mullingar depot until its closure in 1992 at which time they were re-deployed to Dublin. At the time it was agreed they would operate from Mullingar and would receive a travel allowance of 15% of basic pay.
The Union claimed that there was parity between Dublin and Mullingar drivers and that, historically, they were recognised as one negotiating unit. The Company stated that, while arrangements were similar between the two depots, a number of differences did exist, e.g., a commission on empties applying in Mullingar whereas a premium rate of 10p/case applied in Dublin, the standard rate being 5.11p/case. The Dublin drivers, also have no travel allowance. Those differences remained after re-deployment in 1992 and, in 1994, a new agreement was reached with the Dublin drivers which eliminated the premium case rate and the standard rate, and introduced a new composite rate of 8p/case. In tandem with this there was a reduction in manning levels, agreement to one person operated trucks and no overtime rates except for Sunday work. The agreement did not extend to the claimants. The Union, on behalf of the four drivers, is seeking the composite rate of 8p/case, retrospective to 1994. The claim was rejected by the Company on the grounds of being cost-increasing and, therefore, precluded by Partnership 2000 (P2000) and because the 1994 agreement did not relate to the Mullingar drivers.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission arising from which it emerged that the Company would consider conceding the 8p/case (along with the payment of a lump sum) on the basis that the travel and commission on empties and other conditions, not available to Dublin drivers, would be foregone. The Union was not prepared to "sell" the travel allowance and sought an increased lump sum payment. Agreement was not reached and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court , on the 30th of June, 1999, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 11th of October, 1999. Division of Court:-
- Chairman: Mr. Kevin Duffy
Employer Member: Mr. Pat Pierce
Worker Member: Ms. Padraigin Ni Mhurchu.
3. 1. The "parity" agreement and consequent commitment by management to drivers who re-deployed from Mullingar has been rendered meaningless by the significant gap in earnings which has now emerged.
2. It is demoralising, inequitable, unfair and discriminatory to have a minority placed in the position of the claimants who provide a similar service and deliver the same approximate volume from the same location as their Dublin colleagues.
3. The withdrawal of a travel allowance from members who travel more than 100 miles a day to get to and from work is an unfair request of persons whose working day is at least 4 to 5 hours longer than their colleagues'. Accordingly, the Company's preconditions to the inclusion of the four Mullingar drivers under the 1994 Agreement should be withdrawn.
4. 1. The Company has always had a history of different rates being applied to different groups within its distribution network and is not prepared to apply the current Dublin commission rates to the Mullingar staff for reasons that:-
(a) The claim ignores the fact that the higher Dublin commission rates arose
from significant restructuring of the Dublin operation and which did not
affect the Mullingar staff;
(b) The claim is made for an equal commission rate to that applied in Dublin,
but the Mullingar staff are not prepared to accept the full package applied
to Dublin staff. Instead they are seeking to cherry-pick the best from each
2. The Union's claim for retrospection is unwarranted and cannot be justified on any reasoned grounds.
3. The claim, as currently structured, is cost-increasing and debarred under P2000.
4. The Company is willing to apply the same rates of commission to the Mullingar staff provided they accept this as part of an overall package and are prepared to give up the higher rates they received in other areas.
Having considered the submissions of the parties the Court recommends that the dispute be resolved on the following basis:-
1. The four drivers associated with the claim should be paid the same composite rate per case as their Dublin counterparts. The increase should be from the date of acceptance of this recommendation.
2. In consideration of parity of conditions, the Union should agree to relinquish travel time, commission on empties and other conditions which are inconsistent with those of Dublin drivers.
3. The parties should agree a basis on which the drivers concerned will be integrated into the Dublin operation including the prioritising by the Company of the present routes when allocating work.
4. A lump sum payment of £2,500 should be paid to each of the four drivers on acceptance of this recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
1st November, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.