INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. (1) 1999 Christmas Bonus. (2) Flexi Time Credit For Hospital Visits.
2. Strand Street is the administrative section of Roches Stores Head Office. Thirty two full-time and three part-time 'Head Office Function' clerical staff are employed there.
In 1999 Union discussions took place on a location by location basis on productivity related matters such as Sunday and Public Holiday working, increased pay rates and increase in the Christmas Bonus. Agreement was not reached with the staff in Strand Street and the matter was referred to a Labour Court hearing (LCR 16385 refers). The recommendation was rejected. After a four week strike in January, 2000 a revised package was accepted by the staff following the intervention of the Labour Relations Commission. The revised package was paid to some Henry Street Staff including the revised Christmas Bonus for 1999. The staff in Strand Street argued that they should also get the revised Christmas Bonus for 1999.
Part of the strike settlement agreed at conciliation, incorporated a statement that "the revised Christmas Bonus will apply in future according to the existing formula".
In July, 1998, the Union reached agreement with Roches Stores (Strand Street) employees to introduce flexible working hours. The Union are claiming that when an employee has to attend hospital that credit should be given for the purposes of flexi-time during core hours. The Company are stating that no credit must be given and that the employee must work up the time. Both matters were referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 7th of February, 2001 as no agreement was reached, the claims were referred to the Labour Court on the 26th of March, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing was held on the 25th of May, 2001.
3. 1. The Union is seeking the difference between the revised Christmas Bonus and the former rate. This would amount from £200 to £270 per person depending on which point of the pay scale the employee is on.
2. The Company extended the Strand Street conditions of employment to the staff in Henry Street, who because they had accepted the outcome of the 1999 negotiation, received the higher Christmas Bonus for 1999.
3. The settlement proposals, states that the existing Christmas Bonus "will apply in future, according to the existing formula". The 1999 formula was for the higher amount and this amount should have been paid.
(Flexi-Time Credit for Hospital Visits)
4. 1. The Head Office workers in Strand Street work from Monday to Friday and are not in a position to swap days off for hospital visits.
2. Civil and Public Servants are allowed credit for hospital visits and similar arrangements should be in place for employees in Strand Street.
3. Access to hospital visits should be recognised by progressive employers and the employees should not be penalised.
5. 1. The Staff in Strand Street were offered the revised Christmas Bonus in 1999 and rejected it.
2. After the strike in February, 2000 agreement was reached, which provided for the application of the revised Christmas Bonus "in the future" (i.e. Christmas 2000 and onwards).
3. Agreements must be honoured and fully adhered to.
(Flexi-Time Credit for Hospital Visits)
6. 1. In October, 1998 flexi-time was implemented in Strand Street. Staff in Strand Street have greater opportunities than anywhere else in the Roches Stores Group to work up time for hospital appointments.
2. No difficulty is experienced in any of the other locations regarding hospital visits, despite the fact that staff employed there have fewer opportunities available to them.
3. Adequate arrangements are currently in place to allow the Strand Street Staff to attend the hospital.
4. It is a cost increasing claim and it is precluded under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
1. Christmas Bonus 1999
The Court is satisfied that the situation in relation to the 1999 Bonus was clear in the agreement reached between the parties, i.e. the revised rate would only apply in future and not for 1999. It was also known that certain Employees in the Group Head Office were likely to be recategorised.
The Court, therefore does not recommend concession of the Union claim.
2. Hospital Visits.
Having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties, the Court considers the options outlined by the Company to be reasonable and therefore does not recommend concession of the claim for flexi time credit.
The Court understands that the Company is flexible on when the time to be made up, is worked.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th June, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Marian O'Connell, Court Secretary.