INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Calculation of basic pay.
2. Labour Court Recommendation No. 15886 which issued on the 27th of May, 1998, dealt with the Company's Development Plan. The recommendation was initially rejected by the workers. However, following clarification by the Court and further discussions between the parties, the recommendation was accepted and incorporated into a detailed Company Union agreement. The Union's claim, on behalf of a worker employed at the Company's Knocknacran mine, is that as the result of the introduction of annualised hours, his hourly rate was reduced by approximately 46 pence per hour and no other worker was similarly affected. The Union claims that the workers hourly rate should be increased by 46 pence per hour. The Company rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 21st of September, 2001. Agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 6th of December, 2000. The dispute was received in the Court on the 6th of December, 2000. A Court hearing was held in Dundalk on the 27th of November, 2001.
3. 1. LCR15886 issued on the clear understanding that there was to be no loss of hourly pay by the implementation of the new annualised hours payment system.
2. By letter dated 9th of February, 1999, the Union sought clarification from the Company on the issue but the Company's response did not indicate to the Union
that the basic rate of pay had in fact been reduced, other than to state that the overall pay had not been increased due to the fact that the reserved hours in general should not be worked.
3. By not providing a composite rate which would have included the top rate of pay, individual workers had received a new payment structure less favourable
than their colleagues.
4. The Union is seeking that the composite rate be increased by 46 pence per hour to reflect the worker's previous basic rate of pay.
4. 1. The Union's claim is based on an incomplete comparison between two different payment systems.
2. The annual hours system provides for a composite method of remuneration, which taken as a whole represents a significant improvement on what hitherto
existed. Broken down into its component elements, the remuneration structure incorporates a base rate, bonus, rostered working hours and reserve hours.
In addition to these, the Court recommended an increase in annual service pay, which was also implemented. The claim ignores improvement to bonus, inclusion of an element which pays for lunch break at premium rate, plus bonus and payment for reserve hours, of which a minority are worked. It also ignores
the improvement to service pay.
3. Without considering other factors, the improvement to bonus under the new payment system, effectively neutralises the claim in respect of a loss of 40
pence per hour. Under the terms of the new system, the bonus increased by
38.21 pence per hour by comparison with the average which applied prior to the introduction of new plant per the Company / Union agreement.
4. The new payment structure can be seen to be more remunerative than the former system, even in circumstances where all reserved hours are worked.
The argument is being put forward that the basic rate calculation in the composite rate reduced the basic hourly rate and that the Court in LCR15886 was not aware that in devising a composite rate it had the effect of actually reducing the basic rate when compiling the total pay for some individuals.
The Court in Recommendation number 15886 states:-
"The Court is satisfied that in their present form the company's proposals should ensure that there is no diminution of pay in respect of time actually worked. Rather, pay per hours worked should improve appreciably since it is anticipated that a requirement to work all of the reserve hours should only arise exceptionally".
Having heard the submissions made and considered the arguments in the context of LCR15886 and the negotiations and clarification at the time, the Court is satisfied that an agreement was reached on a standard method for selecting a basic rate which was used for devising composite rates. Therefore, the Court cannot now recommend an alteration to the different factors, which made up the composite rates i.e. the standard agreed basic rate, bonus, shift rate and overtime.
Accordingly, the Court does not recommend that the composite rate should be increased by 46 pence per hour to reflect the claimant's previous basic rate of pay.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
11th December, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.