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 Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Co-operation with shift supervisors.
2. The Company researches, develops and manufactures adhesives, sealants and coatings for the European and Asian markets. The Company has been in operation in Ireland since 1966. There are 500 people employed by the Company at its plants in Tallaght and Ballyfermot. The operative grades are represented by the Services Industrial Professional Technical Union.
In early December, 2000, following discussions, a Comprehensive Agreement was signed by both the Company and the Union. By mutual consent the matter of the plant supervisors was parked and it was agreed that it be addressed through the grievance procedures. In May, 2000, following ongoing discussions, the Company appointed three technically qualified shift supervisors. The shift supervisors are professional employees and are not in unionised grades. 18 members of staff refused to recognise the new grade.
This dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference on the 16th of June, 2001 under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As no agreement could be reached, the matter was jointly referred to the Labour Court on the 29th of June, 2001. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 14th of November, 2001.
3. 1. The Company's plan would have the following effect on:-
- Loss of status for the shift leader
- Loss of overtime earnings for all grades
- Loss of promotional outlets for 15 of the total staff of 18.
3. The shift leaders currently provide help to the other Chemical Plant Operators during periods of high activity.
3. 1. There are external pressures from the Health and Safety Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that relevant legislation is adhered to 24 hours a day.
2. Both the volume and the complexity of output has increased over the last number of years which necessitated that there be a management presence on site 24 hours a day.
3. The existing supervisory role on shift is not suitable for the demands of a modern chemical manufacturing operation.
4. Management presence 24 hours a day will ensure greater efficiencies, which are required.
5. A high degree of technical competence is absolutely essential for a number activities.
The Court accepts the Company argument that the complexity of the operation has increased over the years, and that the current structures do not meet the necessary requirements.
The Court also accepts that the employees involved are concerned about the effect on them, of any new structure.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties recommends that both sides agree to the shift supervisors taking up their proposed roles, that the shift leaders continue to supervise, but that they report to the shift supervisor. This arrangement should enable the Company to meet its objectives while addressing the concerns of the employees.
Concerns were also expressed at the Court hearing that the structures might not be allowed to operate as outlined above.
The Court, in making this recommendation would expect that normal working relationships would now apply within the organisation and that any dispute arising in relation to the implementation of this recommendation could be referred back to the Court.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th November, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Helena McDermott, Court Secretary.