INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Pay review as per Company/Union agreement.
2. The Company is an indigenous Irish Company and has been in operation since 1977. It manufactures and distributes security alarm systems. The claim is on behalf of 100 hourly-paid workers.
In 1994, an agreement on pay was reached between the parties after the Union had claimed that pay rates in the Company were out of line with prevailing rates. It was agreed that rates of pay would be reviewed in 1997, following the end of the Programme for Competitiveness and Work (PCW). In 1997, following acceptance of Partnership 2000, the Union again sought a review of pay rates. This was resolved in February 1999, and the Union then sought a further review in August, 2000.
The Union is seeking an increase based on the difference between the Company's basic rate and the average basic rate of other private sector employments (details supplied to the Court). The Union claims that there is a difference of £19.30 per week. The Company has rejected the claim, pleading an inability to pay at present although it has not ruled out paying an increase in the future. Since 1999, the Company operates an incentive bonus scheme which pays an average weekly bonus of 30%.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place in April, 2001. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 23rd of May 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 9th August 2001.
3. (1) The Company has never disagreed with the Union objective of ensuring that the rates of pay should be in line with market rates. To date, it has not pleaded an inability to pay.
(2) The incentive bonus scheme is a stand-alone issue and has been of benefit to both parties. The additional earnings for the workers are self-financing.
(3) The Union is prepared to talk to the Company about any problem. It is willing to have the additional pay phased in.
4. (1) The Company has met all its commitments under the various National Agreements.
(2) A comprehensive set of pay increases was reached in February, 1999. Whilst it was agreed that a pay review would take place in August 2000, the Company gave no commitment to pay increases outside of national wage agreements.
(3) The Company has experienced severe financial and competitive difficulties in the last number of years, particularly the last 12-18 months.
(4) The overall pay package is in line with the industry. The incentive bonus scheme is not self-financing, giving much higher bonus increases than anticipated with less return on output.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties, and taking into account the current working arrangements in the Company, recommends that discussions on this matter be postponed until the 1st of March, 2002.
If the parties then fail to reach agreement, the matter can be referred back to the Court.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th August, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.