INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Premium rates for working Holy Week and Public Bank Holidays.
2. Pay and conditions of employment for cinema and theatre staff were established between the Union and management in 1968. The Union has submitted a claim on behalf of one employee who is employed in the ticket sales office. The claim is as follows: (1) triple time for working Thursday, Friday or Saturday of Holy Week and (2) double time for working a seven-hour shift on a Public Holiday.
Management rejects the claim. It states that in 1995 the theatre came under new ownership. All staff received a severance package and were re-employed under new terms and conditions of employment. The new contracts of employment were accepted by the employees following a secret ballot.
As no agreement was possible between the parties, the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held on the 26th April, 1999, 11th May, 2000 and 8th February, 2001 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 15th March, 2001 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 28th June, 2001 (the earliest date suitable to the parties).
3. 1. Agreement was concluded in 1967 in relation to the rates of pay for employees working Holy Week and on Bank Holidays.
2. In 1997, management decided to reduce the level of payment to employees without any consultation with the Union.
3. The Union does not accept that the redundancies in 1995 altered the terms and conditions of employment for the staff concerned. The 1968 agreement still stands.
4. The unilateral action of management towards staff, some of whom have over twenty years' service, is unacceptable.
4. 1. The terms and conditions of employment were irrevocably changed when the Company sanctioned redundancies in 1995.
2. The staff were re-employed under new and more competitive terms and conditions of employment which were accepted by the staff following a ballot of the members.
3. The present claim is disingenuous and goes against the terms of the 1995 agreement.
4. The claim is cost increasing and is, therefore, precluded under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
Regardless of what was agreed in 1995 it is accepted that the staff involved received payment in 1996 as had applied prior to the agreement. It is the Union's contention that this was corrected without consultation in Holy Week 1997.
The Court is satisfied that the intention of the 1995 agreement, given the circumstances then prevailing, and the change in employment status of the staff then employed, was as outlined by management, and should operate accordingly.
The Court recommends that the parties accept this situation but that the Company, given the background to the 1997 Holy Week situation, pay that week as in 1996.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th July, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.