INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1); INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT; 1990
M A MOLLOY & COMPANY LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Bonus Payment System.
2. The Company is a meat-processor which employs approximately 40 at its plant in Waterford.
The dispute concerns a claim, initially raised by the Union in 1997, for the introduction of a bonus system in the form of attendance bonus, productivity bonus or some other type of bonus. The Union is of the view that the best way to progress the matter would be to engage an Industrial Engineer to examine the processes involved and to make recommendations accordingly. The Company's position , following research, is that it is not in a position to introduce a bonus scheme which it believes would represent a cost to the Company with no tangible benefit in return. The Company was not willing to allow an Industrial Engineer access to the factory, as to so do would give the impression that there was the possibility of a bonus scheme being introduced, thereby damaging relations between the parties.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, at which agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court, on the 11th January, 2000, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court carried out its investigation, in Waterford, on the 10th May, 2000.
3. 1 The Union has pursued the issue of some form of incentive scheme over the past 2 years. It has put forward a number of options including gain-sharing, profit-sharing and productivity-related schemes, and the Company indicated that any bonus discussion should take into account the existing meat allowance and Christmas bonus. It is reasonable to expect that an Industrial Engineer should be given access to the plant in order to carry out a work-study which might identify a suitable bonus scheme.
2. Over the last 18 months, in particular, the workers have adapted to many changes in the workplace in order to maintain the Company's competitiveness, and they have fulfilled their obligations under P2000 Action through Partnership for Competitive Enterprises.
4. 1. The Company's production process is highly sectionalised to allow for the production of a variety of products. Accordingly, the Company can position itself in the market to attempt to compete with larger operators.
2. The Company's set-up does not allow for an across-the-board work-measured incentive scheme.
3. The Company cannot take on additional costs and, therefore, any scheme would have to be self-financing. To date both parties have been unable to generate proposals which would meet these parameters. Any suggestions put forward by the Union have straightforward cost-increases.
4. The introduction of Industrial Engineers to the situation has been rejected by the Company on the grounds that their presence would raise expectations which could not be met.
The Court has given consideration to all aspects of this claim. The Company has made it clear that, having examined all aspects of work in the plant, it cannot arrive at a bonus scheme that will yield an outcome for everyone. The Union believes that an Industrial Engineer should be allowed into the premises to carry out a work study.
The Court recommends that the Company's position should be verified or otherwise by some suitably qualified person. The Court recommends that the parties should agree on a mutually satisfactory appointment/assignment to examine the workplace. The terms of reference should be defined to indicate that no payments will be made unless there is a self-financing basis for same and that such bonuses must be applicable to all shop-floor workers.
Both parties must also accept that any bonus scheme should also take into consideration the value of the existing meat allowance and Christmas bonus.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd May, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.