INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
PRINT & DISPLAY LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Compensation for loss of shift premium
2. The dispute concerns a claim for compensation for 7 workers in the Company's finishing department. In December, 2000, the Company issued 2 weeks' notice to the workers to return to day work from a 'continental shift' pattern.
In 1997, the parties agreed to the introduction of a continental shift with an associated premium of 29%. From January to November, 1997, the Company worked the continental shift but reverted to day work in December, 1997. The Union made no claim at this stage. The Company re-introduced the continental shift from February to December, 1998, and again no claim was made. Following a double-day shift in 1999, the Company again re-introduced the continental shift from April to November, 2000. The Company has conceded that it is unlikely that the continental shift will be worked again in the finishing department, although it is still in operation in other sections.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place on the 17th of January, 2001. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 8th of February, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 11th of April, 2001.
3. 1. The finishing department is the only area in the Company to be affected by the loss of shift. All other areas still enjoy the 29% premium.
2. The loss of almost one third of their wages has a major impact on the workers who have enjoyed the premium for the last 4 years. The loss for some workers is up to £5,000 per annum.
3. The Union made no claim for compensation in previous years because it was told that the continental shift would be re-introduced. In this case, with no chance of the shift returning, the workers are entitled to seek compensation.
4. 1. The Company has complied with the Registered Employment Agreement (REA) for the printing industry by issuing 2 weeks' notice for the withdrawl of the shift.
2. The workers entered into a shift agreement which gave them a premium far above that set out in the REA. The agreement made no reference to compensation for loss of shift. If the Company had to pay compensation, it would negate the REA.
It is clear from the submissions of the parties that the payment of compensation for losses incurred by employees in changing shift patterns is not provided for by the Registered Employment Agreement for the Printing Industry. It is also conceded by the Union that there is no known precedent in the industry for the payment of compensation in such circumstances.
Against that background, the Court must uphold the spirit and intent of the REA and reject the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd April, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.