INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Grading levels for Grade 1 Operatives.
2. The Company currently employs eleven hundred workers operating in the healthcare industry. It manufactures products and solutions for the healthcare sector.
The Union submitted a claim to have five Grade 1 operatives upgraded to Grade 4 in the Tableting Department. This arises from an agreement in October, 1994. The Tableting Department functions with a mix of tableting and set-up operations. The Union claims that there will be no knock-on effects if the claim is conceded.
The Company states that it does not require additional Grade 4 operatives and that moving away from the current staffing levels per machine will have knock-on effects for the Company. It claims that the agreement in October, 1994 arose as a result of a request by the operatives to rotate voluntarily between jobs, despite the fact that the Company only requires 2 Grade Four operators and 1 Grade One operator per machine.The Company claims that it made an offer in September, 1999 to resolve the dispute but which was rejected following a ballot of the members.
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 11th of March, 1999 but no agreement was reached. The Industrial Relations Officer put forward proposals to try and resolve the dispute but these were rejected. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 17th of June, 1999 under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 14th of October, 1999.
3. 1. The Grade 1 Operative has been "trained up" to Grade 4 level and should, therefore, receive the appropriate rate for the job.
2. There was no financial gain for the Grade 1 Operatives while participating in the training programme.
3. The training undertaken by the Grade 1 Operatives has facilitated management with greater flexibility and interchangability between the grades in the Tableting Department.
4. The cost of conceding the claim would be minimal.
4. 1. Concession will lead to follow-on claims.
2. When the Grade 1 Operators were performing Grade 4 work they were paid at the Grade 4 rate of pay.
3. The work in the Tableting Department does not require additional Grade 4 Operators.
4. The Company put forward proposals in September 1999 in an attempt to resolve the problem and these should be adhered to.
Having given careful consideration to the oral and written submissions of both parties the Court is of the view that this is a claim arising out of the 1994 agreement and, therefore, relates to the five claimants only. The Court endorses the Company’s offer of the 14th of September 1999 and recommends that it should be re-offered to the Union and accepted as a settlement of this dispute.
The Court notes that this offer was as follows:
- payment of the differential between the grade of Tableting Operator (Grade 1) and Set-Up Operator (Grade 2) should be paid for 15 hours per week,
- payment of the differential to the Tableting Operator for the acting up period for any absence of the Set-Up Operators. This would include absences relating to sickness, holidays etc..
The Court makes this recommendation on the basis of the clear assertion by the Union that this will not create a precedent for any other categories within the Company.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th October, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.