INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
KERRY INGREDIENTS, IRELAND
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Productivity Bonus.
2. The Company is located in Listowel, Co. Kerry and is the dairy food ingredients division of the Kerry Group plc. Following a period of discussion between the parties and the involvement of the Irish Productivity Centre in the implementation of a team working programme at the Listowel site, the Company made a proposal, in February, 1999, on a bonus programme based on the achievement of agreed objectives relating to improving methods of work. The proposals were rejected by the Union on the grounds that it is seeking "past productivity" prior to continuing discussions with the Company. The Union claims that productivity has improved constantly over previous years and that comparable companies in the industry and in the locality have progressed in advance of this Company. The Union's claim was rejected by the Company.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, at which agreement was not reached. Subsequently, by letter dated the 5th of July, 1999, the Company confirmed its proposals as comprising the following:-
1. Subject to the Union withdrawing its claim for "past productivity",
the Company would actively enter into meaningful negotiations
regarding the introduction of a productivity program.
2. The Company sees its proposed productivity program being
based on a philosophy of mutual gain, through working smarter
rather than harder.
3. Due to the very diverse nature of the factories and processes
operated in the Listowel plant, the program would need to be
introduced on an area by area basis, with work-study required
to establish the extent and nature of the productivity opportunities.
The Company sees this as being done in conjunction with the
employees and their representatives.
4. The Company believes that bonuses of from 5% to 10% are
possible where productivity targets are achieved.
5. To establish goodwill and to underline the bone fides of the
Company in relation to the introduction of the proposed program,
it has agreed to pay 2% of basic pay from January, 1999, on a quarterly basis to each employee, until the full program comes into effect in their area. This payment is contingent on Union agreement on the basic principles.
In the meantime, 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 carried out its investigation, in Killarney, on the 25th of August, 1999.
3. 1. There is no entitlement to payment for past productivity as the Company has already more than played its part as a good employer and social partner over the past eleven years.
2. A claim for past productivity is contrary to the spirit of the National Agreements of which both the Union and the Company are signatories. The Company has honoured all of its obligations under the PNR, PESP, PCW and Partnership 2000, including all of the local bargaining elements which have been paid in full from the earliest date on which they could become effective.
3. Regarding promotions in recognition of change in effort, the Company recognises that some jobs have changed in content over the past number of years. Where this has happened, the Company has, in consultation with the employees, increased the number of Grade 5 operators over the last five years by 44%.
4. The basic rate paid by the Company is over 4% higher than equivalent comparator companies (details supplied to the Court).
4. 1. The Company has failed to acknowledge in any tangible way the question of payment for past productivity, all of its offers being based on the withdrawal of the Union's claim in this regard.
2. The rates that apply in various other similar companies have moved on and are far in excess of those paid at this Company which, in many ways, epitomises a competitive enterprise through partnership with no reward for the efforts of employees (details supplied to the Court).
3. Accordingly, the workers in question deserve an increase in pay that would reflect past productivity conceded by them.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
Both sides appear to be willing to enter into discussions on a possible future productivity programme but the issue of past productivity is preventing discussions taking place.
The Court recommends that the Company offer, contained in the letter of the 5th of July, 1999, be re-presented and accepted by the employees.
In the meantime, the Union claim for past productivity to be shelved until discussions on a future productivity arrangement are near completion.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th September, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.