INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
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: Mr O'Neill
1. Revision of shift rates.
2. Mergon International is a technical blowmoulding Company, supplying innovative technical blowmoulding solutions to leading multi-national companies. It is based in Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath and employs approximately 160 people. The Company is divided into two plants. Plant 1 operates on a three-cycle shift system, employing 120 people and plant 2 operates an a 12 hour shift system, employing approximately 60 people.
The dispute concerns the Union's claim on behalf of workers employed in plant 1 for an increase in the shift premium. The three-cycle rotating shift for which the Company pay an average of 18.66% operates as follows:
8AM to 4PM 18% shift premium;
4PM to 12PM 18% shift premium;
12PM to 8AM 20% shift premium.
The Union argues that the three-cycle shift premium is out of line with comparable companies in the Castlepollard area. The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement could not be reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 22nd of June, 2000 under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 12th of January, 2001.
3. 1. The workers employed in plant 1 have given loyal service to the Company and have been instrumental in bringing the Company to its current healthy and stable position. Management has acknowledged this in the past. However, this acknowledgement is not reflected in the shift premium being paid for the three-cycle shift.
2. The current premium in plant 2, which is not in dispute, is comparable to other employments in the area. However, an analysis of comparable companies in a 30 mile radius of Castlepollard shows that the three-cycle shift premium is below the norm.
3. The workers do not accept that this claim is cost increasing. They make the same social and domestic sacrifices as other employees who work the same hours in comparable employment and are concerned that after 20 years service their shift premium is out of line with industry generally.
4. 1. The shift rate in Mergon International is an agreed rate between the Company and the Union. It is an integral part of the Company/Union agreement. The Company has adhered to the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness and this claim is cost increasing and precluded under the terms of the agreement.
2. Mergon International's basic rate of pay, on which the shift premium is based, is extremely competitive. In a survey carried out by the Company of seven similar companies Mergon was found to have the highest basic rate of pay of all the companies surveyed. It also emerged as the employer with the highest average take home pay for the 3-cycle system.
3. In addition to a high basic rate of pay Mergon International has a number of additional benefits for employees, which have cost implications for the Company. Shift premia cannot be looked at in isolation and is only as good as the basic rate upon which it is based. Mergon International's basic rate of pay is at the upper end of pay rates. The Company has many other benefits, which in conjunction with the shift premium means that employees receive more than their counterparts in almost all comparative industries in the region. In light of the above, the Company request that the Court find in its favour.
The claim is, as presented, a cost increasing claim, and as such is prohibited under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness entered into by both parties. The Court therefore, rejects the Union's claim in this case.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
12 March, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.