INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
BECTON DICKINSON LIMITED
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. 4% pay increase.
2. The Company has two plants in Ireland, one in Drogheda and one in Dun Laoghaire. It manufactures devices and systems for use by health care professionals. The Company employs approximately 330 at the plant in Dun Laoghaire. The workers there are represented by both SIPTU (general operatives) and the TEEU (craftsmen).
SIPTU has submitted a 4% pay increase on behalf of its members employed as Process Quality Operators (PQS) at the Dun Laoghaire plant. It claims that a 4% pay increase was granted to craftsmen which has eroded an historical relativity between craftsmen and general operatives.
The Company rejected the Union's claim. It states that in 1996/97 a grade consolidation took place for SIPTU members who were compensated accordingly. The Company states that there was never any pay relativity between craftsmen and general workers.
In 1997, a similar grade consolidation took place for TEEU members. The Company states that compensation was also paid in this case. It claims that the percentage increase required to implement the consolidation was greater for SIPTU than TEEU members. Any concession of the claim would lead to knock-on claims.
As no agreement was possible between the parties, the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 22nd of June, 2000, but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 30th of August, 2000.
3. 1. A 4% increase in basic pay is justified on the basis that there has always been an historical relativity between craftsmen and general operatives.
2. Because of the consolidation of grades, general operatives now find themselves performing increased maintenance functions which previously was the work of craftsmen.
3. It has always been the custom and practice at the plant in Dun Laoghaire that any agreement relating to terms and conditions reached on behalf of SIPTU members, was also applied to TEEU members.
4. The Union does not accept that there will be any knock-on effects if the claim is conceded.
4. 1. The Company does not accept that there was ever any relativity between the pay of craftworkers and that of general operatives.
2. If the claim is conceded there will be knock-on effects as the hourly rate of pay is the same for both the Drogheda and Dun Laoghaire plants.
3. The Company operates in a very competitive market. It must keep costs down and remain competitive or it will lose out to its competitors.
4. This claim is in clear breach of the terms of Partnership 2000 and the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
The Court is satisfied that no formal relativity agreement exists between the grades and, therefore, does not recommend concession of the claim for a 4% increase in basic pay. However, the Court is satisfied that as a result of the craftsmen agreement, the PQS grade did undertake some extra duties previously done by the craftsmen.
Therefore, the Court recommends that in recognition of the co-operation shown by the PQS grade and in the interest of the good industrial relations environment which has prevailed in the Company to date, that the parties should agree a lump sum payment for the extra duties involved.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
12th September, 2000.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.