INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CANADA DRY LTD
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Dispute concerning service pay and service days.
2. The Company operates a soft drinks manufacturing plant in Athy, Co Kildare. The dispute concerns production workers who are in receipt of service pay as follows:-
£1.50 per week after 5 years
£2.50 per week after 10 years
£3.50 per week after 15 years
£4.50 per week after 20 years.
These rates have remained unchanged since 1991. At that time the Company undertook to review the rates on the expiration of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress (PESP) on the basis of inflation and pertaining wage increases. The Union now seeks the review. The Company states that it is not willing to increase service pay at present but will address the issue on expiration of Partnership 2000. (September 2000). This was unacceptable to the Union. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations
Commission. Conciliation conferences were held in April, 1999 and November, 1999. No agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 29th November, 1999. A Court hearing was held in Tullamore on the 24th of February, 2000.
3. 1. The service pay agreement was put in place in October, 1991 and was to remain in effect until the end of the PESP agreement. Despite the Union's best efforts it has made no progress with the claim. The Union's offer to accept a lump sum payment of £160 to each worker in lieu of a service pay increase to cover the period up to the end of P2000 was rejected by Management.
2. There is a huge difference in entitlements for workers in the companies owned by the Group i.e. the Cadbury Schweppes Ireland deal on service pay and service days is far superior to that enjoyed by the claimants.
3. The Union does not accept that the claim breached P2000. The Company committed to address this issue but failed to honour the agreement at the end of the PESP.
4. 1. Negotiations between the company and SIPTU on the introduction of the Concentrate Partnership Accord were concluded in November, 1997. The final agreement provided for the introduction of a new reward system, which included service pay and a productivity allowance, as well as V.H.I. cover and a company success share plan. No adjustments were made to service pay or service leave as part of the final document, agreed between the parties.
2. As part of negotiations on Partnership 2000 the Company did submit a proposal to the union which included increases in service leave, annual leave, the introduction of paternity leave, an early payment of P2000 local bargaining clause (1%). In return the Company sought changes to the payroll system and the introduction of a common calendar year for calculation of holiday and sick pay entitlement. These proposals were rejected by the union.
3. The Union has repeatedly argued that 'an agreement is an agreement' and as such should be honoured. Indeed, this was the recent case in 1998 when as a result of changes in Revenue guidelines. Canada Dry employees were financially better off out sick, than at work. The Company proposed changes to the sick pay scheme to maintain sick pay benefits at the equivalent of net take home pay. At the time the workers threatened industrial action over the principle of the issue.
4. The matter was resolved, following the intervention of the Labour Relations Commission, when the IRO recommended that - in order to maintain the partnership approach agreed between the parties - the scheme remain as it is until the current agreement expires.
5. The Company is not out of line with other comparable companies in terms of recognising service. This has been confirmed by research conducted by the company of other companies in both the Kildare region and of other Food and Drink companies. Research also indicated that service pay is not automatically adjusted in accordance with inflation.
In addition the Company operates a generous service award scheme, which company recognises the service of longer serving employees.
Having considered the written and oral submission of both sides the Court recommends that the offer made by the company dated 24th November 1997 to the Union should be again proposed, with the following amendments:
- Service Days:
Basic leave = 22 days including Good Friday
5 years service = 1 additional day = 23 days including Good Friday
12 years service = 2 additional days = 24 days including Good Friday
20 years service = 3 additional days = 25 days including Good Friday
25 years service = 4 additional days = 26 days including Good Friday
This new service leave arrangement to take effect in the leave year 2000.
- Service Pay
Service pay to be reviewed upon expire of Partnership 2000 in the company (September 2000). The Court notes the positive commitment given at the hearing to review the present service pay arrangements. In the interim a lump sum of £100 gross should be paid to the claimants.
The above recommendation is conditional on all aspects of the offer made on 24th November, 1997, being accepted.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
T. O'D/U.S.Caroline Jenkinson
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.