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: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Redundancy terms.
2. The Company was founded in Dublin in 1823 by the Boland family. It produces flour, wholemeal and a variety of bread-mix products for both the domestic and Northern Ireland markets. In 1984, the Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society (IAWS) acquired the business out of receivership.
The Company intends to re-locate its milling facilities from Barrow Street to a new state-of-the-art milling unit on Alexandra Road by Autumn 2001. It also intends to re-locate its warehouse from Barrow Street to Mulhuddart in August, 2000. The issues in dispute concern the proposed redundancy package and the proposed re-location deal which have been offered. A number of meetings were held at local level and two conciliation conferences took place under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission in February and March, 2000. The Company increased its initial offer, but this was rejected by the workforce.
As agreement was not possible, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 2nd of May, 2000, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 26th of May, 2000.
3. 1. The Company purchased the entire Bolands business for £1.5 million in 1984. The sale of one site has realised circa. £8 million, while the second site will raise £25 - £30 million. The Company is making enormous profits on the buildings alone, while still retaining the business.
2. The workers work extremely hard to keep the Mill going and are now being asked to make massive changes and sacrifices. The workers who transfer to the warehouse in Mulhuddart will have to travel for approximately 3 hours per day. The Company's offer of a car pool arrangement and £1,000 is less than that paid in 1988 for a move from one site in Barrow Street to another.
3. The Company has given only an outline job description of the four jobs which will be available in Alexandra Road. More information is necessary. In addition, the workers believe that the Company wishes to "cherry pick" the staff to be moved, while seniority has always prevailed in the past. Management should negotiate with the Union on these jobs. The stated wage of £25,000 and an unspecified bonus does not compare with the wages of £30,000 to £40,000 currently earned by the workers.
4. Any redundancy package should incorporate shift and overtime earnings as the workers work long hours seven days per week. Previous redundancy packages were based on average wage and shift. The package offered by the Company is too low. It should be in excess of seven weeks' pay per year of service and the ceiling should be lifted.
4. 1. At the second conciliation conference the Company offered the following package to the employees concerned:
- 3.5 weeks' basic pay per year of service plus a £3,000 lump sum, plus a further one week's basic pay per year of service, and an additional £300 per year of service for service over thirty years.
- Ceiling to be removed completely.
- Salaries for the new mill jobs to be raised to £27,000 per annum, plus once annual loss of overtime earnings up to a maximum of £6,000.
- A disturbance payment of £1,000 to anyone moving to the new mill or £2,000 for anyone moving to the new warehouse.
- Loyalty bonuses of £200 per year of service for 13 mill employees who remain in employment until the move to the new mill is complete.
- A special payment of £250 per year of service to four specified employees who, due to age, would not be entitled to the compulsory redundancy offer, to a maximum of £10,000 per person.
2. The package on offer is fair and reasonable. It recognises and rewards service and is more generous than previous redundancy packages offered in Bolands Mills. It takes into account the long service of the employees, and contains a loyalty bonus for those who stay with the Company until the move to the new location and a generous re-location payment to those who may wish to work in the new mill.
3. The Company cannot base the redundancy package on average earnings as it would unjustifiably inflate the figures. However, recognising the amount of overtime being worked by the employees, the Company has totally removed the ceiling on the redundancy package.
4. The Company has offered up to £6,000 to cover the loss of overtime experienced by any employee moving to the new mill. Workers who transfer to either the mill or the warehouse will have the option to take the redundancy package up to six months after the transfer if they are unhappy with the new locations.
5. The re-location of the mill is essential if the Company is to remain a viable business. The profits from the sale of the premises will be re-invested in the business. Consultation with the employees affected took place at the earliest opportunity and the Company has always been open in relation to the changes planned. The Company's offer is generous and fair in all of the circumstances.
The Court having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties recommends as follows:
The Court recommends that the Company offer of £2,000 for those moving to the warehouse be increased to £2,500, and the offer of £1,000 for those moving to the new mill be increased to £1,250.
The Court accepts that a job specification for the posts has been supplied, as has the salary and an outline of the required hours of work. However, it is clear that some details still require to be clarified and this should be done immediately by the parties.
In relation to loss of overtime earnings, the Court recommends that this be addressed by payment of two times the annual loss arising for the four affected employees, when the loss is identified.
The overall effect of the Company proposals in total is to give the equivalent of circa five and a half weeks per year of service to those having to leave the Company.
However, given the nature of proposals in this case, the Court recommends that the actual weeks per year of service proposed by the Company at three and a half weeks be increased to four weeks per year of service, thus increasing the overall effect to circa six weeks per year of service.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
1st June, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.