INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CADBURY IRELAND LIMITED
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Productivity Agreement (Vision 2000 ).
2. The dispute concerns the Company's proposal for the conclusion of a comprehensive productivity restructuring agreement (Vision 2000 ) on the Rathmore site. A similar agreement was recently concluded in the Company's Dublin plant. The proposal involves reductions in numbers employed, changes in work practices, increased productivity and enhanced pay increases for those workers remaining in the employment. The transport and distribution function at the Rathmore plant which the Company claims is inextricably linked to the Vision 2000 proposal, was the subject of a separate Labour Court investigation and recommendation where the Court, in LCR 16804, endorsed the Company's decision to eliminate transport and distribution functions and recommended that the parties engage in discussions to agree a package for workers affected by the changes. This issue is not resolved. The Union rejected the Vision 2000 proposals because of its concerns in relation to job reductions in a number of areas. The Union is also claiming that all employees at the plant should be guaranteed 52 weeks' pay per year and that shift rates at the plant should be reviewed. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 1st May, 2001. Agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 3rd May, 2001. The dispute was received in the Court on the 3rd May, 2001. A Court hearing was held in Tralee on the 21st August, 2001.
3. 1. The number of jobs which the Company proposes to eliminate has very serious consequences for the employment. The elimination of the Trades Helpers positions is not acceptable. The removal of those jobs would place an unwarranted
burden on production operatives. Any time a fitter or electrician requires assistance, some worker will be taken off production which would increase the workload on remaining operatives. It is unreasonable for the Company to expect the remaining production workers to maintain output shorthanded. The Company has failed
to adequately explain to the Union how the proposed removal of the Trades Helpers
will impact on production workers. The carpenter's position should be maintained because of the level of general maintenance required on site. While the
Vision 2000 agreement for Dublin provides for the retention of toilet cleaner posts there, this is not the case in Rathmore. The Union has reservations about
the feasibility of automating the boilerhouse and contends that manual operation would deliver a more satisfactory service.
2 The Union seeks a guarantee of 52 weeks' pay per year for workers. The situation regarding shift rates at the Rathmore plant is a cause of concern. The shift rates should be fundamentally reviewed independently of Dublin.
4 1. By using the existing Company Union agreement and the number volunteering for the severance payment available, the changes required can be implemented effectively. Management has given a commitment that no compulsory redundancies will take place. As there will be a shortfall of 7 volunteers against what is required to complete the programme Management proposers to lay off the 7 major junior workers until overtaken by natural wastage. The issue of how temporaries are dealt with in a number of redundancy programmes is clearly set out in a number of Company Union agreements.
2. The Company does not intend to make any changes in the 52 weeks' pay p.a. at present. If circumstances arise in the future necessitating any change the Company will negotiate with the Union on such change.
3. The category of trades helper disappeared many years ago in the Company followed a general trend within the industry as a whole. Agreement was
reached over two years ago on the re-organisation and redistribution of the work of Trades Helper leading to the elimination of this group in Dublin. The
Rathmore plant must follow this trend to remain competitive.The boilerhouse is now automated and requires a minimum amount of attention. The Company has provided for this in the retained numbers. The Company is willing to discuss
the carpenter's position.
4. The Vision 2000 plan is essential for competitiveness and viability. The proposals offer a significantly enhanced package of pay and conditions which
will be implemented on acceptance of the agreement. The changes sought have successfully been implemented in the Dublin plant.
The Company has made the point that the issue of the contracting out of transport and distribution in Rathmore and the current issue before the Court, are inextricably linked and must be viewed together. As the Court has been involved in both disputes it can concur with this view. On the 3rd May, 2001 the Court issued recommendation No. 16804 endorsing the Company's decision to eliminate the transport and distribution functions and it further recommended that negotiations should take place "for the purpose of agreeing a package for those individuals who may be affected by the change." The Court recommended that this process should be completed by 1st June, 2001. To date this has not happened and no vote has taken place on the recommendation.
The Court is concerned at the perception that insufficient discussions and negotiations have taken place on both issues and, therefore, wishes to put in place a framework for such a process to take place. Therefore, the Court recommends that the parties should enter into discussions and negotiations under the auspices of an agreed Industrial Relations Officer of the Labour Relations Commission. The Court recommends that both issues - the implications of contracting out of transport and distribution in Rathmore and Vision 2000 should be dealt with in tandem. This process should be dealt with as swiftly as possible and should be completed by not later than 15th October, 2001.
Any outstanding matters should be referred back to the Court for a definitive recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th August, 2001______________________
T. O'DDeputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.