INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CANTRELL & COCHRANE IRELAND
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Annual Leave and Company Leave Days.
2. The dispute concerns approximately 100 general operatives employed at the Company's Ballyfermot manufacturing plant. Their annual leave entitlement is 20 days plus a maximum of 3 service days ( 1 service day per five years service ). The Union claims that a Company document of 1974 clearly stated that that along with annual leave entitlements the Company " pays for additional holidays at Christmas and Easter. " These days are Christmas Eve and Good Friday. The Company rejected the claim stating that in the late 1970's or early 1980's the Company days were subsumed into annual leave and that the workers are not entitled to the additional 2 day's leave. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 5th October, 2000 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 14th November, 2000 . A Court hearing was held on the 12th January, 2001.
3. 1. In the Company document there is a clear reference to annual leave compliance with a legal minimum entitlement to annual leave plus 2 Company days. This should now be re-adjusted to meet the new legal minimum in addition to the 2 Company days.
2. The absorption, over a period of time, of the 2 Company days in the developing national norms and rising legal minimum annual leave was an arbitrary decision by the Company without notice to, consultation with or agreement with the Union.
3. During the course of this dispute new contracts signed by new employees, recruited in an expansion phase, should be included in this claim.
4. 1. The Company days were an integral part of employee terms and conditions of employment in the 1974/75 ( 15th pay round ). At that time annual leave entitlements equated to 15 days. In addition the Company also granted paid leave on Good Friday and Christmas Eve. During the years and pay agreements that followed, annual leave/ company days/ public holidays etc., were amended in line with positive approaches to the social aspects of employment contracts.
2. The policy document issued by C&C Group in January, 1988 details the leave policy employed in all subsidiary companies of which this Company is one. This increased basic annual leave entitlement to 20 days effective from January, 1988 with 1 service day per 5 years service to a maximum of 3 after 15 years, Good Friday and Christmas Eve were to be taken from within this entitlement, not in addition to it. It subsequently transpired that records were only showing a basic entitlement of 19 days and not 20 days quoted in the 1988 policy. This was rectified and backdated holiday entitlements of up to 10 days, in some cases, were given without grievance on the Company's part.
3. There is no validity in the claim, particularly as the Company has operated to the Group policy for the last 12 years.
In general, where the minimum period of leave is increased, either by national agreements or by legislation, workers who have a pre-existing entitlement, under a collective agreement, to what becomes the new minimum cannot claim an automatic right to retain an enhanced entitlement of leave above that new minimum.
The policy document of 1988 indicated in clear terms that the full entitlement of annual leave at that time was 20 days, inclusive of the two days now in dispute, and 3 service days where applicable. At no stage did the Company agree to a total entitlement (exclusive of service days) of 22 days.
In these circumstances the Court recommends that the Union accept that the two days in question have been subsumed in the full statutory entitlement of 20 days leave.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th January, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.