INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
UNITED DRUG LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
(AMICUS) MANUFACTURING, SCIENCE, FINANCE
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Payment of Shift Allowance.
2. The Company is a wholesale and distribution pharmaceutical company with outlets at Magna Park and Belgard Road, Tallaght. In 1997, the Company introduced an evening shift. The Company does not pay an evening shift premium. In 1999, a Sunday premium was introduced and is currently worth €25.40 per week.
The claim before the Court is on behalf of forty two workers employed at the Belgard Road outlet for payment of an evening shift premium. The Company rejects the claim on the basis that it is cost increasing and is barred under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF).
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 5th of March, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th of June, 2002, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. It is normal practice in the manufacturing and distributive trades that employees who work evening shifts are paid premium rate.
2. The workers concerned should receive an evening shift premium in addition to the basic hours Monday to Friday and with the retention of the Sunday premium. The premium should be backdated to May, 2001.
4. 1. In 1997, the evening shift was introduced by agreement with the Union at that time.Employees volunteered to work the evening shift.
2. The claim cannot be conceded as it would have possible knock-on claims by employees based in Limerick and Ballina. It is a cost increasing claim and is precluded under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
The Court notes that the evening shift was introduced in 1997 by agreement with the Unions. No premium was provided for at that time.
At the hearing the Unions told the Court that they had recently become aware that three named male individuals are in receipt of a 15% premium for working a similar shift pattern as those associated with the claim, the majority of whom are women. The Company does not accept that the payments in question are in consideration of shift working. It is noted that this claimed anomaly did not form part of the basis on which the claim was originally made, nor was it discussed at conciliation.
Since this matter is before it as an industrial relations issue, the Court must consider the claim in the context of the PPF. It is clear that the claim is for a change in the current agreed arrangements and is cost increasing in nature. Consequently, the claim is precluded under the stabilisation provisions of the PPF and for this reason the Court cannot recommend its concession.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th August, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.