INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CROSS RIVER FERRIES LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
2. The Company operates a ferry service between Carrigaloe and Glenbrook since 1993. Up to 1996, three crews operated the service and this was increased to four crews due to an increase in volume.
In May, 1999, the Jack Lynch Tunnel was opened which resulted in a dramatic fall off in the number of cars using the ferry. In order to ensure its survival the Company has to make savings in all areas including labour costs.
The Company proposed to make changes in crew structure, overtime, the Christmas bonus, a reduction in basic salary and changes to the sick pay scheme.
The Union rejected the Company proposals.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission held on the 8th of February, 2000. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 15th of November, 2000, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. In November, 1999, workers accepted a change from a four to a three crew operation which resulted in significant savings for the Company.
2. There should be no need for reductions as the Company is well able to meet its debts.
3. The current financial position of the Company should be made available to the Union.
4. The Company proposals are unacceptable and cannot even be considered.
4. 1. In the first year since the tunnel opened the Company lost £44,000, even though it made significant savings in all areas except labour costs.
2. Management suggested briefing staff on issues. This was rejected by the Union.
3. Rationalisation is needed as the Company is in serious financial difficulty.
It is clear that the opening of the Jack Lynch Tunnel has impacted adversely on the employer's business. However, the Union does not accept that the economic circumstances of the Company are such as to warrant any of the measures proposed. The Union bases its belief on the latest published accounts of the Company, which relate to the period prior to the opening of the tunnel.
In the Court's view the Company should, in the first instance, provide the Union with up to date certified accounts showing its current financial circumstances. Having regard to the position as disclosed by the information provided, the parties should then enter into realistic and urgent negotiations for the purpose of adopting such measures as are necessary to ensure the viability of the enterprise.
Should the dispute remain unresolved by the end of January 2001, the matter may be referred back to the Court for a definitive recommendation.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th November, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.