INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ROSCOMMON PRECISION CASTINGS
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Productivity claim.
2. The Company manufactures steel castings for a wide variety of markets. It is mainly an exporting Company and relies a lot on trade within the E.U. The home market business is relatively small.
The Company's main competitors are in the UK and other E.U. countries. It is also in competition with companies from the Far East and Eastern European countries. The Company claims that in August, 2000, it lost one of its major customers which represented about 18% of the Company's business. It also states that the claim is precluded under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF).
The Union has submitted a pay claim for £60.00 per week for its members. It states that the rates of pay in the Company are below the regional average. It claims that its members have co-operated with the introduction of World Class Manufacturing (WCM) which has improved productivity in the Company.
The Company rejected the claim and stated that it was not in a financial position to meet the Union's demand. It is prepared to embrace the principle of "Gainsharing" which would provide financial benefits for the workers when the Company came back into profit.
As no agreement was possible between the parties, the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 30th January, 2001 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 7th February, 2001 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 28th February, 2001.
3. 1. The pay in the Company is below the regional average and needs to be increased substantially.
2. The Company introduced "World Class Manufacturing" (WCM) into the plant which has resulted in improved productivity. However, this has resulted in the elimination of overtime for the workers.
3. One employee has had a reduction in his earnings of £1,400 because of the loss of overtime.
4. The Union does not accept that the claim is in breach of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF). Productivity has increased substantially under WCM and members should be remunerated accordingly.
5. Management committed itself to partnership with its employees. The workers have delivered on their side of the bargain. Management should now reciprocate.
1. The claim is cost increasing and is outside the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF).
2. Management is prepared to consider a system of profit sharing when the Company returns to profitability.
3. The Company operates in a very competitive market. It must keep costs down or it will lose market share to its competitors.
4. There is need for further investment to ensure the future viability of the Company. It is not prepared to make this investment while the current claim stands.
5. The Court is asked to reject this claim. Any concession could lead to the closure of the plant.
Having considered the written and oral submissions made by both parties, the Court is of the view that the need to establish trust between the parties is vital at this point. The Court is satisfied that progress was being made under the terms of Chapter Nine of Partnership 2000 and PPF. However, the failure of the Company to give specific details to the Union on the operation of a Gainsharing Scheme, coupled with the effects of the loss of a major customer, led to a loss of confidence in the process.
The terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, which both sides are a party to, exclude a claim for an increase in pay of £60 per week; the Court cannot support such a claim, whereas the pursuance of a claim for Gainsharing is allowed within its terms.
The Court notes the limited progress that was made on the introduction of World Class Manufacturing, and recommends that further work should be done to ensure it is finalised. The Court is also aware of the crucial need to invest in lifting equipment, without which no further progress can be made.
The Court is sympathetic to the sense of frustration and distrust felt by the workers due to the lack of progress on its claim and is also conscious of management's need to ensure the viability of the Company in a period where it is facing such fierce competition. However, the need to establish trust with the workers is paramount and, therefore, the Court recommends that the Company must immediately and clearly set down where gains can be made, how they will be shared out and how the workers will benefit.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
8th March, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.