INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY FEDERATION (CIF) & CONTRACTORS
- AND -
ICTU CONSTRUCTION GROUP OF UNIONS
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Finishing bonus.
2. The Unions have submitted a claim for a "finishing bonus" at the Rank Xerox site in Dundalk. The Unions argue that such payments have been paid in the past, at such sites as Intel, Hewlett Packard, Tallaght Hospital and Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. They claim that despite the boom in the construction industry many workers, and particularly general operatives, would be unemployed for different periods of time when the current job was completed.
The employers rejected the claim on the basis that they had tendered competitively for the work and the client (Rank Xerox) would not finance any additional costs. The cases quoted by the Unions differ from the case related to this site because the clients in those cases had paid the cost of the claims. Furthermore, workers in the construction industry have received much higher pay increases than any other sector of industry.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 19th of January, 2000, but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 20th of January, 2000, under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 24th of January, 2000.
3. 1. The only increases in pay which construction workers have received are those under Partnership 2000, the Registered Agreement for the Construction Industry and the Electrical Contracting Industry.
2. Workers still endure significant periods of unemployment when individual contracts of employment have been completed.
3. The bonus being sought by the Unions has been paid in the past on sites similar to the Rank Xerox site.
4. The construction industry is going through a boom time at present and this claim should be conceded.
4. 1. Workers in the construction industry have received increases of over 12.2% in 1999 at a time when under Partnership 2000 (P2000), the increase due was only 1.5% and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by only 2%.
2. Where additional payments have been paid in the past, it was common for workers to have lengthy periods of unemployment. However, in the present climate, this is no longer the case.
3. The employers have met all the terms of the agreements on the Rank Xerox site and there is no provision for finishing bonuses in the agreements.
4. Rates of pay and conditions of employment are determined for the construction industry by the Unions and CIF at the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) for the construction industry. There are no provisions for extra payments in those agreements.
The Court has carefully considered the submissions made by the parties in this case.
While payments of the type claimed have been paid in a small number of instances, it is clear that they do not apply to the vast majority of sites. Moreover, there is no provision in the Registered Employment Agreement for the Construction Industry for payments of the type now claimed.
In these circumstance, the Court can see not rational basis on which it could distinguish the site in question from the generality of construction sites so as to justify a recommendation that the claim be conceded.
While not recommending concession of the present claim, the Court would suggest that the parties should seek to establish, through the NJIC for the industry, agreed guidelines on the circumstances, if any, in which claims of the nature now before the Court could be processed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th January, 2000.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.