INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
MARKS & SPENCER (IRELAND) LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
2. The dispute concerns the Company's decision to implement restructuring of the supervisory grades throughout the Irish operation. The main thrust of the proposal is to reduce the current managerial structure from 8 levels to 5 levels as follows:
Current structureProposed structure
Country Manager Country Manager
Store Manager Store Manager
Deputy Manager ) Commercial Manager
Deputy Supervisor ) Section Manager
Service Deputy Supervisor)
Current structure Proposed structure
Sales Assistant Sales Advisor
The grades in dispute are the Deputy Supervisor/Service Deputy Supervisor and approximately 160 workers are involved, made up of permanent staff and a number of 'relief workers' who 'act-up' in varying degrees. The Unions claim that existing Supervisors will automatically be incorporated into the Section Manager grade. There will be a number of vacancies in the Section Manager grade and these will be filled by competition confined to the grades in question i.e. Deputy/Assistant Deputy Supervisors. Those who are unsuccessful will perform the role of Sales Advisor.
At local level discussions, the Unions sought 'red-circling' in respect of the affected employees, compensation for loss of status, and the option of voluntary redundancy. (The Unions are seeking 4 weeks' pay per year of service for each voluntary redundancy.) The Company proposed a compensation package for loss of earnings over a specified time period, inherent in which was compensation for loss of status. Following a meeting on the 18th of July, 2000, it was agreed that the 2 issues in dispute are:
1. The impact that restructuring will have on the general staff category
2. Compensation arrangements
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and, following a number of conciliation conferences, the following proposals issued:
Permanent Deputies and Service Deputies:
A) Persons becoming Advisors (whose salaries are in excess of the top rate for Advisors) will have their salaries moved to the top rate for Advisors and additionally have one of the following options:
1. Retention of half the differential in basic pay as an exceptional supplement.
- This differential to be calculated as 50% of the difference between an individuals hourly rate at the time of implementation and the target top advisor rate at the time of implementation.
- This exceptional supplement to be added to basic pay but not added for calculation of overtime, bonus or additional hours.
- This exceptional supplement to increase in line with wage inflation in the future.
The remaining 50% differential to be compensated for by:
- An up front payment equal to twice the annual loss, or
- A 3 year phase out, or
- A 5 year phase out.
2. A compensation lump sum payable at the time of implementation equal to twice the annual loss of earnings. This figure to be calculated on earnings over 12 months up to the implementation date.
3. A phasing of salary rate differential to top rate advisor over 3 years (i.e. year 1 = 100%; year 2 = 100%; year 3 = 50%; year 4 = target).
4. A phasing of salary rate differential to top rate advisor over 5 years (i.e. year 1 = 100%; year 2 = 75%; year 3 = 50%; year 4 = 25%; year 5 = target).
B) Persons remaining in employment who become Advisors to be paid a retention payment as follows:
£1000: at time of implementation
£1000; 1 year after implementation
£500; 2 years after implementation
£500; 3 years after implementation.
C) Following selection of individuals for promotion, for those not moving into section management through choice or assessment, there will be the option of voluntary severance on the basis of two and a half weeks per year of service plus statutory entitlement.
- A maximum of twenty permanent Deputies/service deputies to be accommodated in this manner.
- In the event of over-subscription for voluntary severance, selection will be by reference to seniority of service in the Company.
- This offer will be available post selection for promotion and up to implementation date.
- This package is unique to the current circumstances and is not to be quoted as a precedent by either side in the future.
D) Persons aged 60 years or over, at the time of implementation, to have their current salary maintained until they leave the Company or retire. Current salary will increase with wage inflation in the future.
RELIEF DEPUTIES AND RELIEF SERVICE DEPUTIES:
- Reliefs will have the choice of one of the following options of compensation:
1 A compensation lump sum payable at the time of implementation equal to twice the annual loss of earnings. Loss of earnings to be calculated on the basis of hours worked in relief over the preceding twelve months up to the time of implementation.
2 A phasing out of the relief payment over 3 years (i.e. year 1 = 100%; year 2
100%; year 3 = 50%; year 4 = target).
3 A phasing out of the relief payment over 5 years (i.e. year 1 = 100%; year 2 = 75%; year 3 = 50%; year 4 = 25%; year 5 =target)
- Reliefs to receive an exceptional compensatory payment calculated as follows:
.Those who were in relief for more than 30% of the hours worked in the twelve months up to implementation date will receive £750.
.Those who were in relief for less than 30% of the hours worked in the twelve months up to implementation date will receive £250.
SIX DUTIES OUTLINED AS CONCILIATION
- The following 6 tasks are recognised by the Company as being an integral part of the Advisor job profile:
1. Authorisation of cheques over £300 and credit cards
2. Snatches and Cash collection
3. Putting change in tills
5. Control and handling of lockers and uniforms
6. Purchase of sales floor food for staff catering
- These 6 tasks to be performed by those retaining the exceptional supplement and new Advisors recruited after the date of formal acceptance of this agreement. Status quo to be maintained for those Advisors who currently perform any of the 6 tasks.
- The 6 tasks to be incorporated in the relevant job profile and performance indicators for Personal Development Review purposes. However, the Company acknowledges thatthis, from a PDR perspective, will not disadvantage those who are not required to perform these tasks.
All other issues agreed by the parties prior to the conciliation conference to be included in this agreement (e.g. assessment process).
Implementation date will be on or before 2nd April, 2001.
The Company will make available 2 FTE of vacancies for Training and Resource section management across the Region.
All monetary amounts detailed in this proposal are gross sums. The parties to meet locally following conclusion of agreements to finalise arrangements for implementation.
The proposals were rejected by the Union side, and the Dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 1st of December, 2000, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 16th of January, 2001.
3. 1. The group of workers involved are key members of the current managerial structure. Some have been with the Company since the commencement of the Irish operation. All have been promoted into their current positions by a process of competition. It is vital that these workers, who have shown loyalty and commitment to the Company, should be treated fairly.
2. The Company's intention to abolish the grades of Permanent/Service Deputies means that workers in those grade who are not promoted will effectively be demoted. This will result in a loss of pay and status. The Unions' proposals i.e. 'red-circling' of the current rates of pay together with a lump-sum payment, or voluntary redundancy, would result in the Company achieving sufficient savings over a period of time.
3. The Unions believe that Relief Deputies/Relief Service Deputies should receive the same lump-sum payments as the Permanent/Service Deputies on a pro-rata basis, depending on the time spent doing relief duties as follows:
£5,000 for staff doing relief duties for 100% of their working time
£3,750 for staff doing relief duties for 75% of their working time
£2,500 for staff doing relief duties for 50% of their working time
£1,250 for staff doing relief duties for 25% of their working time
4. The Unions accept that the 6 tasks as outlined would be incorporated into the job descriptions of those workers who are re-deployed as Sales Advisors provided they retain their full rate of pay and that the lump-sum payment is significantly increased beyond its current level. The Unions believe that the extension of the 6 tasks be confined to those Advisors who currently perform any of the 6 tasks and to those who are re-deployed as a result of the restructuring.
4 1. The Company had to re-structure its operation in order to retain customer satisfaction, and the Unions have acknowledged this. The new structure is rudimentary and transparent, and will eliminate duplication and overlapping of roles.
2. The Company believes that the 6 duties as outlined are integral to the role of Sales Advisor and should be performed by them. Some of these duties require very little time, e.g. Allocation of lockers and uniforms only requires one employee for 2 hours per month per store.
3. It is the strong desire of the Company to retain all staff. However, it has agreed to make voluntary severance available to 20 workers in the Deputy/Service Deputy grades at 2.5 weeks' pay per year of service, plus statutory entitlements
4. The Company believes that the proposals as outlined above are comprehensive and fair. They clarify the operational structures for the future, and are equitable, having regard to the compensation arrangements on offer and the monetary levels of such arrangements.
The Court has taken into consideration the written and oral presentations made in this dispute. A proposal was put forward following talks at the Labour Relations Commission. These proposals were very comprehensive. The Union indicated that many aspects of those proposals were unacceptable to their members. The Court is of the view that the proposals should form the basis for the settlement of this dispute and, therefore, recommends that they should be accepted with the following amendments:-
Permanent Deputies & Service Deputies
As per the LRC proposals with "the remaining 50% differential" should be compensated by an up-front payment equal to two and a half times the annual loss.
(B) Persons remaining in employment who become Advisors to be paid a retention payment as follows:
£1000 - at time of implementation
£1000 - 1 year after implementation
£1000 - 2 years after implementation
£1000 - 3 years after implementation
(C) The Court recommends that the number of redundancy positions available should be the number of permanent Deputy Supervisor/Service Deputy Supervisor posts now in existence, less the number of Section Manager positions filled from these grades.
The redundancy payment available to those who select for redundancy should be four weeks' pay per year of service, plus statutory entitlement.
Relief Deputies & Relief Service Deputies
1. The "compensation lump sum" should be equal to two and a half times the annual loss of earnings.
The relief deputies & relief service deputies "to receive an exceptional compensatory payment" calculated as follows:-
As per the payment recommended under (B) above but on a pro-rata basis for the hours worked on relief in the previous twelve months.
Six Duties outlined at Conciliation
The Court considers that of the six duties outlined at conciliation, three of those duties (number 1, 5 and 6) are duties which should be recognised as an integral part of the Sales Advisors' job profile, and should be carried out by all Sales Advisors. The Court also recommends that the LRC proposal to extend the six duties to those advisors who currently perform any of the six tasks, and to those who are to be redeployed as a result of the restructuring, should be accepted as part of this overall recommendation. Any extension of the arrangement should be negotiated with the Sales Advisors' representatives.
The date of implementation should be agreed between the parties.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
13th February, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.