INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Pay for on-going productivity.
2. The Company was established in Shannon, Co. Clare in 1979. It manufactures electrical components. It employs two hundred and twenty workers.
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of its members employed as manufacturing operatives for payment for ongoing productivity changes.
The Company argues that any changes which have been introduced were implemented in accordance with the provisions of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. The issue could not be resolved at local level.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission held on the 15th of May, 2001. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 29th of June, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place in Limerick on the 31st of October, 2001, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The changes sought by the Company will impact greatly on the existing working conditions of the workers concerned.
2. The Company agreed on numerous occasions to enter into negotiations on a PPF supplementary agreement but failed to live up to its commitment.
3. The claim for adequate remuneration for work practice changes is reasonable and should be conceded.
4. 1. The Company is fully committed to the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
2. Any changes which have been introduced constitute reasonable change and were implemented in accordance with the provisions of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
3. The Company rejects the Union's claim for an increase over and above the national wage agreement.
Annex 1 of Framework 1 of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness commits the parties to full and ongoing co-operation with change and the need for continued adaptation and flexibility to maintain and improve competitiveness. It is generally accepted that this provision requires Unions and employees to co-operate with on-going change and that such co-operation cannot provide a valid basis for claims for improvements in pay beyond those provided by PPF.
In relation to the present case, change and adaptation has been a constant feature of the development of the Company's business. The Union accepts that in the past the degree of co-operation with change expected of its members did not go beyond what it regards as reasonable.
The Court recommends that the Union should co-operate with on-going change in accordance with the terms of PPF. In relation to any particular aspect of change which it may regard as going beyond that provided for in PPF, the normal disputes resolution procedure should be utilised.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
15th November, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.