INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
BALLINODE CATERING SERVICES
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
2. The Company provides canteen services to the students and staff of the Institute of Technology, Sligo. Prior to 1996, the canteen was administered by a canteen society. In 1996, Ballinode Catering Services took over the operation of the canteen and workers' terms and conditions of employment were preserved under the transfer of undertakings legislation. In October, 1998, the Union submitted a claim on behalf of catering staff for an increase in their hourly rate from £4.40 to £5.50 per hour. The Union's claim was made on the basis of the significant increase in productivity given by the workers and also on the basis of a close pay relationship with cleaning staff whose hourly rate is £5.50.
Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 12th of May, 1999. Agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 7th of July, 1999. A Court hearing was held in Sligo on the 29th of September, 1999.
3. 1. The Company's offer was insufficient and was rejected. The Union does not accept that the claim is precluded by P2000, as it is productivity related and not, therefore, a cost increasing claim.
2. The productivity afforded and flexibility/co-operation given by workers since Ballinode Catering Services took over the operation of the College canteen is substantial. There was an increase of over 400 students in 1998. No other group in the College works so hard or have given so much co-operation and flexibility as they.
3. In the Galway Institute of Technology which operates in a similar fashion to Sligo, the canteen staff have parity with Public Service workers i.e. £6.15 per hour.
4. The workers are opposed to a profit sharing option, as Management has already stated the Company is in a loss making situation presently.
5. The cost of the food provided in the canteen is substantially cheaper than any competitors in the area. An increase of 10 pence in the price of a main course dinner would not adversely affect the canteen's competitive position and would help to fund the workers' pay claim.
6. The workers did not anticipate that the transfer to Ballinode Catering Services with all the guarantees provided to them, would result in such a widening of the pay gap between themselves and College cleaners in such a short period of time. The Union is seeking the retrospection of its claim of a £1.10 per hour increase to the 30th of November, 1998, and that from today's date the workers will be placed on the Local Authority pay rate of £6.15 per hour in line with the canteen staff in the Galway Institute of Technology and the cleaning staff in the Sligo Institute.
4. 1. The Union's claim amounts to a 25% increase and cannot be conceded by the Company on the basis that the JLC rate applicable is £4.10 per hour. At negotiations the Company made the following offer, an increase of 4% which was inclusive of the 2% local bargaining element of P2000. The 4% increase could be applied in these different methods
(i) Flat rate increase to £4.58 per hour in line with the Labour Court Recommendation for canteen workers in Athlone.
(ii) The 4% could be applied to provide an incremental scale ranging from £4.50 to £4.65 per hour.
(iii) A three point scale could be devised on the following basis:
0 - 2 years' service - £4.00 per hour (new staff only)
2 - 5 years' service - £4.50 per hour
6 years+ - £4.65 per hour.
In addition the Company offered to introduce a profit sharing arrangement to have the productivity quantified by an industrial engineer. The Union rejected the offer.
2. The Company acknowledges the dedicated and loyal service of the workers and acknowledges the changes taken place in the canteen. It has proposed a realistic offer to the workers within the confines of P2000.
3. The canteen has suffered a loss for year ending 31st of August, 1998. A major element is costs and any significant increase in base costs will have a major impact on the viability of the operation. The Company faces stiff competition from a new establishment located directly across the road from the Institute. The Company cannot pass on a substantial increase in base cost to students.
Having considered the submissions of the parties the Court recommends as follows:
1. As an immediate measure the rates of the staff concerned with the claim should be brought into line with those of corresponding staff in the Dundalk Institute of Technology.
2. Discussions should commence between the parties on further increases in pay based on measurable productivity, with outside assistance if necessary. These discussions should be completed within a period of six months from the date of acceptance of the recommendation.
3. The parties should explore further the possibility of introducing a profit sharing scheme.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
12th October, 1999.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.