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 Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Pay increase in respect of past and ongoing productivity.
2. The Union has submitted a pay claim for a productivity payment of 15% in excess of the current national agreement for past and continuing productivity. The claim is on behalf of 150 general operatives.
The Company rejected the claim on the basis that all productivity is paid for in the agreed pay rates of the Company.
As no agreement was possible between the parties, the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held in Dublin and Cork, but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 26th of September, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 14th of November, 2001.
3. 1. The pay rates in the Company lag behind others in the industry in terms of basic pay.
2. The skill based payment system, which has been in operation since 1995, has created disharmony amongst the workforce.
3. The Company has stuck rigidly to the National Pay Agreements on base rates while other companies in the industry have negotiated pay increases above the national agreements.
4. The Union's claim for a 15% increase above the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (P.P.F.) is justified on past and continuing productivity.
4. 1. It is important that the Cork site be maintained as a new products site. This can only be secured if the cost base is competitive within the Corporation.
2. Since 1995, the annual wage increases have been at or above the terms of the National Wage Agreements.
3. Non-pay conditions of employment have increased significantly since 1995, such as pensions, bonus, health cover and sick pay.
4. The Cork plant must remain competitive in relation to its cost structure or it will lose out to other sites throughout the world, such as Singapore which has lower Corporation Tax and lower wage costs than those prevailing in Ireland.
Having considered the submissions of the parties, the Court is satisfied that the claim as presented is precluded by the pay agreement associated with P.P.F. In these circumstances, the Court cannot recommend its concession.
The parties should, however, resume discussions at the Labour Relations Commission with a view to re-structuring the skills based pay system. These discussions could address the issues of difficulty with the current scheme, which were identified by the Union in its submission to the Court.
The parties should also seek to identify real and tangible cost saving measures which, if implemented, could provide benefits to employees on a cost neutral basis.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th November, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.