INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LOCTITE IRE LTD
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Company Union agreement terms.
2. Loctite Ireland Limited is part of the Henkel group, which researches, develops and manufactures sealants and coatings for the European and Asian markets. It currently employs 520 people at its Dublin facilities in Tallaght and Ballyfermot and has been in operation in Ireland since 1980.
The current Company/Union agreement is in place since April, 1992, which as per the agreement "is to continue to 31 March, 1998 and thereafter unless or until amended by agreement".
The dispute concerns the Union's claim for a percentage increase in pay for each year that the agreement has overrun. It argues that while the Union has maintained flexibility during a period, acknowledged by both sides as introducing serious changes, the Company has dragged out negotiations on a replacement agreement.
The Company has offered a once off lump sum payment for the period since the expiry of the agreement and has proposed that the parties avail of the services of an independent third party to negotiate an up-dated agreement.
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 23rd of December, 1999, under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 8th of March, 2000.
3. 1. The Union sought discussions with the Company in relation to the Company/Union agreement in December, 1997. The wording of the agreement allows for its continued operation during the process of negotiation and since it allows the Company the opportunity of delaying negotiations this clause will have to reworded.
2. All changes introduced by the Company during the currency of the old agreement received the full co-operation of all the workforce.
3. The Union is seeking a percentage wage increase in respect of the period April, 1998 to date for maintaining flexibility during a period, acknowledged by the Company as introducing serious changes.
4. The changes introduced since the 31st of March, 1998 involved major changes to job operations and have resulted in substantial increases in productivity and the profitability of the Company. In the circumstances the Union's claim for a percentage increase in pay is justified.
4. 1. The Company is now a toll manufacturer, it no longer owns the business, therefore it must ensure its cost bases to keep it competitive. It is no longer practical to rely on the traditional business as Loctite must continue to reinvest in new areas of technology if it is to survive.
2. Cost containment is becoming more critical for both manufacturing and research development & engineering, therefore any percentage increase on wages must be kept to those agreed nationally. However, the generous packages of pay and benefits in the company continue to be at a level that is very advantageous when compared to similar Irish industries.
3. The company requests the Court to recommend that the terms of the current comprehensive agreement be fully upheld and agreed to by SIPTU and that the proposals placed by the company should be examined in a serious and realistic manner to help solve the current impasse.
4. Loctite believes that its proposals represent a fair and reasonable attempt to meet the concerns expressed by the Union. It is keen that a new, updated agreement should be put in place to enable both sides to proceed and permit the company to advance in a positive and progressive manner.
The Court has been asked to adjudicate on a percentage increase for each year due to the overrun of the Company/Union agreement. The Court rejects the claim for such a percentage increase.
However, the Court recommends that the Union should accept the Company's invitation to mediation with an independent chairman. Suitable compensation should form part of the renegotiation of the agreement in recognition of the changes to the work practices undertaken since the expiry of the agreement on the 31st of March, 1998. The Court recommends that these discussions should be completed within three months of this recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th March, 2000.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.