INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
DONNELLY MIRRORS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
2. The Company is located in Naas, Co. Kildare and manufactures mirrors for the automobile industry. It employs approximately 500 people. In 1988 the Union requested that a job evaluation be carried out on behalf of nine employees who are graded Utility A workers and are remunerated at the Grade 6 rate. Their duties involve filling in and performing all jobs up to and including Grade 6 in the Prism area of the plant in the event of absenteeism or increased production requirements.
Following conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission in 1991 and 1992, an independent expert was appointed from the Irish Productivity Centre (IPC) to examine the necessary training times required to train a Utility A worker. His recommendation was issued in June 1993 and recommended a training period of 17.5 months. A job description for the claimants was approved and signed off on the 30th of November, 1994. In June 1994, an agreement had been reached to pay each of the claimants £1,000 to buy out any cost increasing claims for the duration of the Programme for Competitiveness and Work (PCW).
In December 1997, the Union again requested that a job evaluation be carried out. Management offered to pay a percentage to buy out the claim, but this was rejected by the Union. The claim was again the subject of conciliation conferences in October and November 1998. The Company's position was that the job evaluation system in place was not adequate to deal with the grading of composite jobs such as Utility A. It was agreed to appoint another independent third party from the IPC to evaluate the system. His findings issued in March, 1999, confirming that the system in operation was "adequate to evaluate and grade the Utility A post", but because of the complexity of the post he recommended facilitation by a professional consultant.
In January 2000 the Job Evaluation Committee (which was made up of two people from the Union and two from Management) confirmed that the Utility A post should be upgraded from Grade 6 to Grade 7. Management did not accept the findings of the Committee on the grounds that the training period of 17.5 months was excessive. Several meetings followed and, in September 2000, the Company offered to pay the Grade 7 rate and a lump sum settlement of £3,500 on the condition that the claimants also work in the AFM/EC area.
The issue was again the subject of conciliation on the 19th of September 2000. Following an inspection of the AFM facility, the claimants rejected the Company's proposal to include the area as part of the Utility A function. On the 18th of December 2000, another conciliation conference took place at which the Union offered to undertake four new jobs in the Prism area. This was rejected by the Company. As agreement was not possible, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 5th of January 2001 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act 1990. The Court investigated the issue on the 13th of March 2001, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The claimants have been extremely co-operative and patient with the Company. It took eleven years for the upgrading to be processed, yet the Company still refuses to apply the new rate of pay, with retrospection. This is blatantly undermining the Job Evaluation System which has been in operation since 1968 and determines all rates of pay for hourly paid production employees in the Prism area.
2. The claimants established the right to have their jobs evaluated in 1991, the job description was agreed in 1994, an independent consultant agreed that the current Job Evaluation System was adequate and in January 2000 the Committee recommended upgrading to the Grade 7 rate. The Union is seeking that the procedures and findings are honoured, upheld and implemented.
3. The Company has claimed that the Job Evaluation System is flawed. It then attempted to "move the goal posts" by requesting that the claimants' job description should now include the AFM/EC area. When the claimants are regraded and paid accordingly, they will discuss additional duties with Management.
4. 1. The job description that was used for the evaluation in 1999 was agreed in 1994. Many changes have subsequently taken place and, therefore, this job specification should not have been used.
2. The job specification contained nineteen tasks. A survey, which was carried out in July 2000, showed that only twelve jobs were covered over a six month period by the group of workers. Each individual employee is required to cover only seven or eight jobs. As the Utility A post is a promotional post for many internal employees, they would have hands on experience in some of the jobs to be covered. Therefore, a training period of 17.5 months is excessive.
3. In order to resolve this long running issue the Company proposed to pay a lump sum payment of £4,500, the employees would remain on Grade 6, the job spec would not include AFM/EC work and the job spec would be re-written to take account of "actual" work carried out. The new job specification could then be put to the Job Evaluation Committee for evaluation.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties, recommends as follows:-
(1) Claimants to be granted Grade 7 from 1st September 2000.
(2) Lump sum of £4,500 to be paid to cover all retrospection claims.
The Court, in making this recommendation, is doing so based on an acceptance by the Union that the job content has been reduced and the commitment given to enter into discussions on proposals to add alternative duties to the current responsibilities.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23 March 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.