INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
COCA COLA BOTTLING (DUBLIN) LTD
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Improvements in terms of all Ireland logistics plan.
2. The issues before the Court concerns the interpretation of the terms of a 1994 agreement between management and the Union which arose as a result of the loss of the 7UP franchise to the Company. This was a major loss to the Company. The plan was accepted by two of the three groups affected, the production area and the despatch area. The distribution section, which employs fifteen drivers, did not accept the plan.
The Union is seeking the following on behalf of the drivers, (a) retention of earnings; (b) operational issues such as Health and Safety and the scope for a new fleet; (c) increase in voluntary severance package. The Union claims that the main effects on the drivers is financial. This arises from a reduction in deliveries and a transfer of the distribution of all "bulk product" to an operator based in Dundalk. It states that a major part of the drivers earnings is commission based.
The Company claims that the restructuring plan and the necessary investment was vital to secure the employment of the 600 employees and regain the Company's market share and competitive advantage and to ensure the long term viability of the Company. The current plan does not breach the terms of the 1994 agreement.
As no agreement was possible between the parties, the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 18th of July, 2001, but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 27th of July, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 9th of November, 2001.
3. 1. The drivers concerned will lose between £13,000 (16506.60 Euro) and £15,000 (19046.07 Euro) in earnings as a result of the Company's restructuring plans. The loss of this scale is totally unacceptable.
2. The Union is seeking the re-negotiation of the 1994 agreement.
3. The proposed new operational changes involves a Health and Safety issue which needs to be addressed by the Company.
4. The Union is seeking a consolidated pay structure to maximise retention of earnings.
5. The redundancy terms on offer need to be substantially improved. The workers are seeking seven weeks' pay per year of service plus a lump sum of £10,000 (12697.38 Euro).
4. 1. The Company believes that the current restructuring plan does not breach the terms of the 1994 agreement.
2. The Company has honoured the Union's request to maintain full employment for the remaining drivers along with a loss of earnings package for those individuals who wish to stay with the Company.
3. The Union committee and two out of the three departments have voted on and accepted the plan. Within the regional depots the distribution drivers who were subject to the similar changes have also accepted the plan.
4. Any further concessions to the distribution employees will inevitably lead to claims from all other employees affected by the plan resulting in further costs to the Company.
The Court has considered the submissions of both parties. The Court recommends as follows:-
The Court recommends that the offer of 5 weeks' pay per year of service plus statutory, plus 8 weeks' pay in lieu of notice plus an additional payment of £5,178 (6574.70 Euro) for those with over 15 years' service is more than reasonable and should be accepted by the Union.
Health and Safety
The Union has expressed concerns regarding the health and safety assessments, which
have been carried out to date. In order to address those concerns, the Court recommends that the Union accept the Company's invitation to include the SIPTU appointed expert in the new assessment which is due to be carried out by a legitimate body. The Court recommends that both parties should respect the findings of that report.
The Union is seeking a re-negotiation of the 1994 agreement and a consolidated pay rate to protect their earnings. The Court does not recommend concession of these claims. However, as the review contained in Clause 17 of the agreement did not take place until July/August, 2000, the Court recommends that the present rate of commission should be increased to reflect movements between the period 1997 to date. The newly adjusted commission rate should be applicable from date of acceptance of this recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
11th December, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.