INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
COCA COLA BOTTLERS (IRELAND)
(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. Harmonisation of wage rounds.
2. The dispute concerns the Union's claim for harmonisation of the implementation dates for the national wage rounds between the Company's plants at Cork, Killarney and Dublin. The Company has been involved in a number of mergers and acquisitions over the years and historically there have been different implementation dates since the commencement of Social Partnership Agreements in the 1980's. The Company rejected the claim on the grounds of the cost involved. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 13th of March, 2001. Agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 25th of April, 2001. A Court hearing was held on the 7th June, 2001.
3. 1. It is reasonable for the Union to expect any employer in a merger amalgamation situation to harmonise (upwards) all the rates and conditions of workers and most employers do so.
2. The dispute involves 21 staff in Cork and 20 in Killarney and the cost between the two locations is £16,100. The Company can easily afford to pay this amount.
Two groups of workers in Cork have different implementation dates, e.g. in respect of the first phase of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF), administration staff commenced on the 1st of June, 2000, and operative staff on the 23rd February, 2001 .
3. The Union is seeking that this anomalous situation be rectified and that the 1st Phase of the PPF be implemented in all sites from the 1st of June, 2000.
4. 1. The Company operates in a highly competitive business and cannot afford to pay the cost associated with this claim (a minimum of £40,000) which, while primarily pertaining to the Cork depot, may result in similar claims from other depots.
2. The harmonisation of wage rounds for the Cork depot would be a cost increasing claim and is in breach of the PPF agreement.
3. The Cork depot entered into the National Wage Agreements with a higher base than the other depots and to increase current salaries there by 5.5% would push them ahead of other depots.
4. There are a wide range of benefits that differ across the organisation. To harmonise these would result in considerable cost to the Company.
5. The Company has already conceded on the issue of pensionable pay to ensure that there is a minimum difference for pensionable pay between the Cork workers and the main body of the workforce.
6. The Cork depot is a stand alone cost centre and must remain competitive. The cost base is the highest in the national operation.
The claim before the Court is a cost increasing claim and is, therefore, precluded under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. However, the Court is of the view that in the event of concession on productivity/flexibility measures arising within the lifetime of the PPF, the Court considers that the claim would not be precluded if such concessions were negotiated on a quid pro quo basis.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th June, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.