INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LASERFORM (IRELAND) LIMITED
- AND -
IRISH PRINT GROUP (SIPTU)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Payment of the second phase of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF).
2. The Company employs approximately 50 workers at its plant in Drogheda. It operates three separate business units. The dispute concerns 12 workers (Irish Print Group /SIPTU members employed in Laserform Die, Drogheda). The Company has pleaded inability to pay the second phase of the PPF - 5.5 % due from the 1st of May, 2000, and 2% due from the 1st of April, 2001. The Union is claiming payment from the due dates. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 28th of June, 2001. Agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 19th of September, 2001. At this time, a previous referral from the Labour Relations Commission of the same dispute involving another Union was the subject of a Labour Court hearing. In Labour Court Recommendation No.16913 "the Court decided to adjourn the case for two months to allow the parties review the position with a view to reaching an accommodation by then". In October, 2001, the Company and that Union reached an agreement whereby 3% of the outstanding increase would be paid in two phases in November, and December, 2001, and the claim for 2% would not be pursued. There would be no backdating of the increases. The Company made this offer to Irish Print Group (SIPTU) but it was rejected. A Court hearing was held in Dundalk on the 27th of November, 2001.
3. 1. The workers concerned are paid a basic wage of £305.00 (387.27 Euro) per week which is not at the top end of the scale. They work overtime regularly every week to
meet production demands. The workers are depending on receipt of the terms of the PPF which the Union signed up to with the rest of the Social Partners. The workers give full cooperation to meet monthly production targets.
2. Recently 2 workers left the Company and were not replaced. This has led to a saving of approximately £30,000 (38092.14 Euro) to the Company.
3. The Union believes the Company sold the building in Greenhills, Drogheda, which would strengthen its position financially.
4. The Union is willing to discuss ways and means of paying the PPF. Workers have indicated that they would accept £400 (507.90 Euro) per worker to cover the
arrears due from 1st April.
4 1. The Union rejected a Company offer which was already accepted by another Union. The Company has incurred significant losses in its financial year ended 31st of August, 2001. While the situation improved in October, the marketplace
remains very volatile.
2. The Union has argued that it is primarily concerned with the trading performance of the Die Business Unit and not the Company as a whole. The Company and not one particular element of it is what matters in considering inability to pay the
claim. Notwithstanding this the Die Business Unit incurred a loss in the twelve
months ending the 31st of August, 2001.
3. The Company has invested heavily in new fixed assets over the past five years and Loan / Lease repayments are substantial. The Company has no borrowing capacity to fund additional costs associated with PPF.
4. The Company is making strenuous efforts to reduce its cost base. There have been some job losses over the past eighteen months. Where possible, workers
who leave are not replaced and others are redeployed to reduce costs. The workforce is fully cooperative.
The Court has considered the written and oral submissions of the parties. The Court notes that an agreement has been reached with another Union on the same claim, which has had regard to the financial position of the Company.The Court recommends that the Company should enter into discussion with the Union on a similar basis.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th December, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.