INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Payment for introduction of new technology.
2. Dawn Dairies, Limerick is one of three independent Dawn Dairy Business Units in Ireland. Dawn Dairies has upgraded its software to make it Euro compliant. The Union is claiming a 5% increase in basic pay for 3 people employed as 'Checkers' in Limerick for implementing a new computerised stock control system. The Union claims that the system constitutes a major change in work practices, with extra responsibilities and more work. The Company states that there is no change in the skill level required to do the job in connection with the upgrade.
The matter was the subject of conciliation conferences held under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on the 9th and 14th of August, 2001. As agreement could not be reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 15th August, 2001 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 20th August, 2001.
3. 1. The three Checkers did not have to undertake any form of specialised training or require any real computer skills for the current system. The new system is complex.
2. No time or opportunity was given to have new system assessed independently. The Company have confirmed that the benefits arising from the new system will not be restricted to Euro Compliance. The system will reduce paperwork and is also compatible with use of hand held terminals by drivers.
3. There are genuine fears that the new system will lead to job losses.
4. 1. The three checkers are required to co-operate with a basic change in the way they do their work. The system was introduced in order to become Euro compliant and to facilitate change in the future. There will be no reduction in the number of people carrying out checker duties.
2. The Liquid Milk Business is having to cope with intense price competition at a time when costs are rising significantly and in the last 9 months two Dawn Dairies business units have closed.
3. There is no merit in the claim and it would add to costs and create expectations among other employees
Clause 1 of the Agreement on Pay associated with PPF commits the parties to full and on-going co-operation with change and the need for continued adaptation and flexibility. In the Courts view the change associated with the new computer system at issue does not go beyond what is envisaged by this clause.
For that reason the Court does not recommend concession of the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th August, 2001______________________
M.O'C./ B.R.Deputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Marian O'Connell, Court Secretary.