INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
IRISH CEMENT LIMITED
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
AMALGAMATED ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Time recording system.
2. The dispute involves 108 employees at the Company's plant in Limerick. The Company propose to introduce a new clocking-in system to replace the old system which is not Y2K compliant. It is claimed by the Company that the only difference is the use of a swipe card in the new system as opposed to using a key in the old system.
The Unions state that their main concern with the new system is that it could be used for alternative purposes other than for clocking-in and are objecting to the introduction of the new system.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held on the 18th and 30th of November, 1999 but no agreement was reached. The Industrial Relations Officer put forward proposals to try and resolve the dispute but they were rejected following a ballot by the members.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 5th of December, 1999 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 18th of January, 2000.
3. 1. The workers concerned believe that the existing clocking-in system could be upgraded and made Y2K compliant.
2. Other grades within the Company do not have a clock-in system.
3. The workers are aware of a similar arrangement at a Limerick plant where assurances were given in relation to swipe cards and not honoured.
4. The workforce in Limerick are resolute in their objections to a swipe card system.
4. 1. The Company introduced a swipe card system at their Plattin plant in Drogheda without any difficulty.
2. The Company has given the Unions a guarantee that it will not use the system for any purpose other than recording clocking-in and out times.
3. It is a condition of employment and part of their contracts of employment that employees clock-in and out when required.
4. There is no basis for the refusal to use the new system. The Unions accepted a change from using a clock card to a key without any problem.
At conciliation, the IRO put forward the following proposals to resolve the dispute on the basis that they would be recommended for acceptance:
1. "On the basis that the existing system is inoperative from 1st January 2000, the new system should be introduced on a strictly trial basis for 6 months. After 6 months the operation of the system will be reviewed. A further review period can be agreed at that stage if necessary".2. "During the 6 months trial period the parties are free to investigate introducing a key system. This must be a direct replacement of the current clock-in clock-out functions using a plastic key. This may involve site visits to possible alternative key systems".3. "Under no circumstances will the new system do anything more than is being done by the existing system. No extra functions can be introduced without the express agreement of the Unions. If so it will be deemed a clear breach of this agreement".
In the Court’s view these proposals are reasonable and represent an adequate response to the concerns expressed by the Unions in relation to the operation of the new system. The Court recommends that these proposals be accepted.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th January, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.