INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Payment of world class manufacturing allowance.
2. The Company has been developing a system of World Class Manufacturing (WCM) since early 1994. At that time, the company negotiated with three separate groups, namely the shop floor, the craft group and technical staff. In February, 1998, following an agreement between the parties, the craft group (approximately 20 workers) was assimilated with the staff group, resulting in an increase of 8% for the craft workers. In March, 1998, the staff group agreed a WCM settlement which would award them an increases of 8%, and in June, 1998, the shop floor group also received the same award.
The Union's claim is on behalf of the 20 former craft workers (now members of the staff group), whom, it believes, should be awarded the 8% increase awarded to the staff and shop floor groups. The Company's view is that the former craft workers have already received an 8% increase and cannot receive a second one.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place on the 20th of May, 1999. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 10th of August, 1999, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 14th of October, 1999.
3. 1. In February, 1998, the Company concluded an agreement with the craft group guaranteeing them the same conditions as all other staff. Their letters of appointment confirm this (copy supplied to the Labour Court).
2. This agreement was entered into prior to the conclusion of discussions with the staff group and cannot be nullified by the agreement in March, 1998.
3. The craft workers would not have entered into their agreement if they thought that they would not receive the same salary level as the other groups. There is now a 2-tier structure within the staff group.
4. If a staff supervisory position became vacant and was filled by a former craft worker, he/she would be paid less than the former incumbent and could never expect to achieve that incumbent's salary.
5. The 8% achieved by the craft group contained a 2.5% performance review so that, in real terms, the group only achieved a 5.5% increase as against the 8% achieved by the other two groups.
4. 1. The Company cannot award more favourable terms to one group (the former craft workers) than to another. The other groups are on record as saying that they would serve an automatic parity claim should any group attain more.
2. Negotiators on behalf of the staff group insisted that their 8% would not apply to the former craft group.
3. The sentence "The terms of reference of the position are as for all staff" in the letters of appointment refers to basic terms and conditions such as sick pay, pension etc., not to salary.
4. The Company has treated all employees equitably in their respective WCM agreements.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
While the timing of the transfer of this group to the staff group could confuse the issue, the Court is satisfied that this group has received a similar increase to other employees for WCM.
The Court is also satisfied that the Company proposal, as they affected the craft group and the staff group subsequently, was known to the Union at the time.
The Court does not recommend concession of the Union claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
29th October, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.