INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
GRAPHICAL, PAPER & MEDIA UNION (GPMU)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. A 7% wage increase for staff other than those on the M600 printing press
2. In 1995, the Company decided to purchase a new printing press - the M600 machine - and to move its premises from Dargle Road, Bray, to a new site in Southern Park Industrial Estate, Bray. The Company would move from 2-shift to 3-shift working. At this time, the Union made a claim for an across-the-board wage increase, adjustments in certain grades, and disturbance money. The Company claims that a prerequisite of the move was that no union would make a claim for disturbance money or payments associated with the move, and that this was agreed to by the parties. In the event, the Union agreed to the Company's request to hold off on any claim for 18 months, as the Company would be incurring considerable costs as a result of the move. The Company would then review the situation.
Following the move in April, 1996, the Company encountered major difficulties with the new machine. In 1997, management asked for a deferral of talks on the M600 rates, a wage reduction of 10% across the board, a reduction in the shift rate, and a delay in the implementation of the 2.5 % due under PESP. However, the Company did manage to pay the 2.5 % of PESP, and withdrew the request for a 10 % wage reduction.
In 1998, the Union again made its request for an across- the-board pay increase. Management stated that it would only be prepared to negotiate a new rate for those working on the M600 machine, and in February 1999, agreed a wage increase of 6% for these workers, which was backdated to October, 1998. The Union stated that it would continue to pursue its claim on behalf ot the rest of the staff, which is the present claim of a 7% wage increase.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place on the 14th of January 2000. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was refered to the Labour Court on the 21st of February, 2000, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court Hearing took place on the 14th of April, 2000.
3. 1. The Union initially made its claim in 1995, but agreed to hold off as it knew that the Company was in serious financial difficulties. It did not agree, as the Company claims, that it would make no pay demands in regard to the move. An unsigned agreement from 1996 stated that negotiations on pay rates could start within 9 months of the first production run.
2. The workers have been very patient, and have co-operated with all the changes introduced by the Company. However, the claim now needs to be addressed, and the workers deserve to be compensated
4. 1. The Company agreed to review the situation 18 months after the move to the new site. It did not agree that it would pay the Union's claim, as it could not afford to do so. The Company is still in serious financial difficulties.
2. The workers employed on the M600 machine were paid the 6% pay rise as they had to learn new work practises which involved intensive training. No other department had to take on extra work. The Company is willing to discuss a wage claim with the Union but only in the context of a return on productivity.
The Court has carefully considered the submissions of the parties.
The Court recommends that the parties enter into negotiations to resolve the Union's claim on the basis of future productivity. These negotiations should have full regard to the financial circumstances of the Company, the degree of flexibility and change expected from the workforce, and the terms of agreements previously concluded with other groups within the employment.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th April, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.