INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1); INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT; 1990
BWG FOODS LIMITED
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Profit Share.
2. The Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Irish Distillers Limited. It operates a number of cash and carry outlets and distribution centres throughout the country.
The dispute concerns the Unions' claim on behalf of approximately 200 workers for the introduction of a profit share scheme. Management indicated that it would be willing to enter into negotiation on the introduction of a scheme on the basis that no further cost increasing claims would be lodged by the Unions during the lifetime of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. No such guarantee was forthcoming from the Unions.
The matter was the subject of two conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement could not be reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 13th of November, 2000 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 7th of February, 2001.
3. 1. Management agrees in principle with the introduction of a profit share scheme, and the parties were close to agreement as to the timing of such an arrangement i.e. first payment in the early part of 2002 based on profits for the year 2001.
2. No guarantee can be given on future claims at local level due to the low rates of basic pay (£215) per week that apply to the cash and carry end of the business. It is not reasonable for management to seek to impede progress on basic pay particularly when large sections of the workforce are moving significantly ahead.
3. Given that the introduction of a profit share arrangement is not in dispute, the Unions are seeking the following:-
(a) The removal of the precondition on future claims at local level.
(b) The provision of a specific share of the profits to be allocated to all employees and to be shared equally among them in cash terms.
(c) That the share of the profits should be no less favourable than the 6¼% formula used by the parent company. Using the £10m profit figure and a staff compliment of 500 the 6¼% formula would yield a modest £1,250 per employee, considerably less than the £4,500 enjoyed by the worker's colleagues employed in Irish Distillers.
4. 1. Crucial to any agreement on profit share was a commitment from the Unions that there would be no further cost increasing claims served on the company within the lifetime of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. This was not forthcoming from the Unions.
2. The Company has conceded claims which were outside Partnership 2000 and the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness to the value of almost £1,000,000 on an annualised basis.
3. The Company did not budget for additional payments, and it was its understanding that no further cost increasing claims would be served.
4. Any agreement on profit share within the Company would have to take into account existing bonus/productivity schemes that may apply in different locations.
5. The Company is willing to discuss the implementation of a profit share scheme on the completion of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
The Company has indicated it is only prepared to discuss the implementation of a profit share scheme on the completion of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. However, it has stated that it would be prepared to advance this time table if the Unions were prepared to give an undertaking not to bring forward any further claims other than those already tabled.
The Court believes this to be a reasonable position given the agreements in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th February, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.