INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
FMC INTERNATIONAL RINGASKIDDY
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Removal of work function.
2. The Company was established in Little Island, Cork, in 1977 to manufacture and supply microcrystalline cellulose as an ingredient for the food and pharmaceutical industries. It currently employs ninety permanent workers.
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union that a work function carried out by fitters was transferred to General Operatives without negotiation and agreement. The claim is on behalf of eight craft workers.
The Company states that this is minor but necessary change and the workers concerned will not be disadvantaged as a result.
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 22nd of April, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place in Cork on the 7th of August, 2002, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. It is accepted that the Company has the right to make necessary changes to equipment in order to improve its competitiveness. However, it is unacceptable to remove a work function which was carried out by the workers concerned and transferred to another group of workers without consultation with the Union.
2. The workers concerned should be allowed to carry out the function as they previously did and any transfer of the function to any other group of workermust be done by negotiation and agreement.
4. 1. The screen change operation is one that was always carried out by process operators without the need for craft intervention. Due to a necessary change the operators now need to have the facility to release the flexible hoses in order to perform the screen change operation. To have the craft workers remove the flexible hoses would introduce them into a procedure where they were not previously involved and would have a negative cost on productivity impact.
2. The Company has stated that there is no planned or expected change in the security of employment of the workers concerned and no impact on their pay and conditions of employment due to the implementation of these minor changes.
The Court regards the change proposed by the Company as minor in nature and one which should be accepted.
It is noted that the Union is concerned that the change may lead to a loss of earnings on the part of its members arising from the change. The Company does not accept that any such loss will arise.
The Court recommends that the parties should monitor the situation over a period of twelve months so as to ascertain if there is an actual loss of earnings in consequence of the change. If a loss is established, the parties should meet to discuss the situation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27th August, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.