INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
WOODFAB TIMBER 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. Shift Lead-In/Retention Payment
2. Woodfab Timber Limited is located in Aughrim, Co. Wicklow and employs 64 people. The current owners purchased the business from the Smurfit Group in February, 1998. The dispute concerns the Union's claim for a shift lead-in/retention payment in the event of the workers going on shift work or being removed from shift work. It argues that under the previous owners the workers retained their shift allowance for a period of between 4 weeks to 12 weeks after they were removed from shift.
The Company's position is that the business is losing money and that shift work has always been an integral part of the business and it must retain the facility to implement shift work at its discretion. The matter was the subject of a conciliation conference held under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement could not be reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 30th of June, 1999 under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place in Wicklow on the 1st of March, 2000. The first date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The workers are seeking an understanding which would incorporate a period of payment of the shift allowance prior to going on shift and a period of payment when coming off shift.
2. Under the previous employer the workers were paid the shift allowance for a number of weeks after coming off shift.
3. The employees' basic rate of pay is low and as a result there is a greater dependence on shift payments.
4. 1. The Company purchases 95% of it's supply from Coillte. As Coillte gives no guarantee of log supply, the supply of raw material can increase or decrease at short notice. This can have the knock-on effect of increasing or decreasing the level of shift work required.
2. Shift work has always been an integral part of the business and the company must retain the facility to implement shift work at its discretion.
3. In certain areas of the business the Company operates on a seasonal basis. It is therefore, important that the Company retains the right to operate and step down from shift work in order to take advantage of favourable supply opportunities.
4. The Company has offered the employees the option of shift working and is prepared to give shift employees 2 weeks' notice of either going on or coming off shift. This is reasonable given the Company's competitive position and the nature of the industry. In the circumstances the Company is requesting that, the Labour Court recommend that the Union accept the Company's offer of two weeks notice for either going on or coming off shift.
The Court recommends that the company's offer to shift workers should be amended to the following:-
- two weeks' notice of going on shift.
- four weeks' notice of coming off shift, in the event of such notice not been given, the Company should pay the shift premium for the outstanding period.
This offer is not intended to apply to those who are on shift on a casual basis e.g. covering for employee who is out sick, etc.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27 March, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.