INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
AMANN INDUSTRIES CORPORATION
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR1183/00/MR.
2. The dispute concerns the rate of pay applicable to the worker following his transfer from the boilerhouse to a cleaning position within the engineering department.
The Company manufactures sewing threads for the automotive, sport, leisure and footwear industry. It has been located in Tralee since November, 1998. The worker was employed as a boilerman on the 9th of November, 1998, when the Company was in the "start-up" phase. The Company believed that a second boilerman would be needed, and one was appointed on the 2nd of June, 1999. In the event, only one was needed and the worker concerned was transferred to his cleaning position on the 29th of November, 1999. The Company offered to maintain the worker on his rate of pay of £265 per week (Euros 336.48) for 3 months and he was then to move to the cleaner's rate of £193.96 (Euros 246.28). The worker was unhappy with the move and the reduction in pay. Following talks at local level, the Company offered to increase the worker's rate of pay to £210 (Euros 266.64) per week but this was not acceptable to him. (The worker is still being paid £265 per week while the issue is in dispute).
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner and his recommendation was as follows:-
"Accordingly, I recommend that both parties should now agree on the following terms:
(a) The worker to retain his original rate of pay until 28 November 2000, one year after his transfer:
(b) The worker's rate of pay from 29 November 2000 onwards to be £230 per week, on the basis that he retains his current duties but also covers for the existing boilerman as and when required."
(The worker was named in the above recommendation)
The Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 9th of October, 2000, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 28th of March, 2001, in Limerick, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The worker has a specific contract of employment, including a specified rate of pay of £265 per week. There is no provision in the contract for a reduction in the rate of pay.
2. The worker has at all times protested his transfer. If a genuine redundancy situation existed in the boilerhouse, then the worker concerned would have seniority over the second boilerman
4. 1. Clause 4 of the Company/Union agreement states that the Company has the right to "transfer, promote, etc., organise and direct" staff to achieve and maintain maximum efficiency. There was only need for one boilerman, and the Company felt that the second worker was the best person for the job (details supplied to the Court).
2. The Company could have made the worker concerned redundant but chose instead to offer him an alternative position. It has also continued to pay him the £265 to date, 13 months in excess of the original Company offer.
The Court has given careful consideration to the submissions of the parties to this appeal.
In the Court's view, the Company/Union agreement would probably entitle the worker associated with this claim to rely on his seniority in a redundancy situation. The Court has also taken account of the worker's age and his potential remaining service.
In the unique circumstances of this case, the Court recommends that the worker should accept the alternative employment offered but that he should retain the boilerman rate on a personal basis up to normal retirement age.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th April, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.