INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
IRISH CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS
BUILDING AND ALLIED TRADES' UNION
UNION OF CONSTRUCTION, ALLIED TRADES AND TECHNICIANS
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Change proposals and pay increase.
2. The Company and the Unions have had discussions as part of the overall change proposals affecting the Building Trades Crafts and Operatives Group within the Company.
The Unions have submitted a claim for an adjustment of pay rates for building craftworkers (25) and general operatives (24) in the Company. The Unions claim that prior to 1974, the building group of workers were paid rates of pay which were on a par with the engineering craftworkers and engineering operatives. They have since then fallen substantially out of line with their colleagues. They want the building craftworkers and general operatives linked for pay purposes, to the engineering craftworkers and engineering operative grades.
The Company states that the change proposals relating to this group of workers includes:
- Work Patterns
- Hours of work
- Pay Arrangements.
The Company propose to introduce new hours of contracts at two levels; 42 and 44 hours per week on average. It claims that the key difference between the Company and the Unions relates to the proposed pay arrangements. However, the Company claims that the Unions have not confirmed acceptance of the proposed new agreement.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held on the 13th September, 2000 and on the 13th November, 2000. The Industrial Relations Officer put forward proposals on the 14th September, 2001 but these were rejected following a ballot of the members. At the conference on the 13th November, 2000, the Company put forward a final proposal which was also rejected. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 3rd July, 2001 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 24th September, 2001.
3. 1. The Company is prepared to pay contractors rates of pay which they refuse to pay their own employees.
2. The building group of workers find themselves in a position where their numbers are declining and the Company still refuses to link them to any of the main groupings
within the Company for pay purposes.
3. The Unions believe that this group of workers do not have the capacity to give any more productivity as they have already given it in previous agreements.
4. Permanent way workers have been given a 38.85% pay increase. This has taken them above the top rate of pay for a building craftsman.
5. The Unions are asking the Court to recommend that this group of workers be linked for pay purposes to the engineering craftworkers and engineering operatives.
6. The Unions do not accept that there should be two separate rates of pay for a 42 hour and 44 hour agreement.
7. In relation to flexibility, the question of accepting supervisory responsibility without payment of the appropriate rate is not acceptable.
8. The work patterns proposed by the Company are unacceptable to the Unions.
4. 1. The proposed new working arrangements to include a maximum weekly average working week of 42 and 44 hours respectively is to facilitate greater efficiency and a safer working environment.
2. Where there is a loss of earnings, a compensation formula already agreed at national level would apply. Labour Court Recommendation 16347 refers.
3. On acceptance of the change proposals weekly working hours will be reduced to a maximum average of 48 hours over an eight week reckonable period.
4. The basis on which the proposals are made is that existing staff will be provided with stable earnings package which acknowledges the current earning patterns
and new work arrangements.
5. Under the new proposals, pension benefits will be considerably enhanced, and earnings when absent through illness will be secured at a higher level for
the standard week (39 hours) than at present.
6. Work and services will be carried out by contractors to the maximum possible extent with the Company maintaining only a small group combined building trades grouping in each Division/Regional/Port area.
The Court has studied carefully the written and oral submissions made by both parties to this dispute.
The Court notes that the parties agree that the Building Trades Crafts and Operatives Group can be treated as a stand-alone group within the Company. Therefore, productivity deals may be concluded which are specific to this group.
However, following acceptance of the composite pay deals, including this one, the Court recommends that this group's pay should hence be related to an appropriate comparator group. The Court is of the view that the appropriate comparison is the Engineering Craft and Engineering Operatives Group.
In relation to the final proposals made by the Company, the Court considers that the Company's offer of 13th November 2000 compares reasonably to the offers made to other groups within the organisation, and notes that it was recommended for acceptance. The overall approach of the proposals regarding core staff and composite pay arrangements, with the use of contractors and the consequent pension gains is generally acceptable.
The specific work arrangements and flexibilities proposed are mostly accepted or, in some cases where the particular wording is not accepted, the proposal is in practice worked already. The Court believes that a change in wording would suffice to clarify that no more was being sought under points 2,5,and 6 of the Specific Flexibilites than already operates. The other points in General and Specific Flexibilites should be accepted as part of this deal.
Regarding the company's pay offer of 13th November 2000, the Court recommends that the proposed 6 steps of increases tabled in the offer should be increased by a further 2% with effect from date of acceptance of the proposals. Therefore the proposed increases recommended are as follows:
|Effective Date:||National Wage Agreement||Recommended Increases|
|1st January 2000|
1st July 2000
1st October 2000
1st January 2001
1st February 2001
1st April 2001
1st January 2002
1st June 2002
1st January 2003
Date of Acceptance
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
5th November, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.