INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
EATON AUTOMOTIVE LIMITED
(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. Call out rate.
2. The Company manufactures automotive components and is located in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim. The dispute concerns the appropriate call-out rate for a number of workers. The workers in the Company are represented by 2 different branches of SIPTU, some by the Supervisory Branch in Liberty Hall and the rest by the Leitrim branch. This case involves workers in the maintenance department in Manorhamilton.
The Union's case is that all call-outs were traditionally taken by the Supervisor in the maintenance department. When the Supervisor was on call-out he received a payment of 3 hours at time plus one half and any subsequent hours at the appropriate overtime rate. When the Supervisor left the Company, it was decided that all members in the maintenance department would be required to be available to do call-outs. The Union claims that an agreement on call-outs - negotiated at the Labour Relations Commissions (LRC) in 1997/1998 - between the Supervisory Branch in Liberty Hall and the Company did not apply to its members. The workers do not wish to undertake call-outs but, if they have to, the Union is seeking that they be paid 3 hours at double time plus the appropriate overtime rate thereafter. The Company believes that the rate of call-out at 3 hours at overtime rate, negotiated at the LRC , is appropriate and applies across the board.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 17th of July, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th of November, in Sligo, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Company should replace the maintenance supervisor, whose role would include covering call-outs.
2. The workers have agreed to undertake call-outs under protest as it is an inconvenience to their family and social lives. They live up to 12 miles away but do not receive any travel allowance.
3. The Company did not negotiate with the Union when deciding that the workers concerned would have to do call-outs.
4.Overtime rates have not increased since a collective agreement in 1975.
4. 1. The issue of the call-out rate was dealt with following protracted negotiations at the LRC in 1997/1998. The terms were later improved by the Company.
2. The Company was of the understanding that the agreement reached at the LRC applied to non-managerial employees and that the rate was paid across the board.
3. The claim is in breach of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) as it is cost increasing.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties, and the correspondence subsequently supplied, is not satisfied that it is reasonable of the Company to expect the claimants to accept that they were covered by the 1997 agreement.
The Court, therefore, recommends that the parties enter into discussions to explore the other options raised during the hearing to cover the call out duty. If these options fail to meet the needs of the operation, then the Company should discuss the payments to be made to the claimants for covering this duty.
If the parties fail to reach agreement, the matter should be referred back to the Court for a definitive recommendation. In the meantime, the Court expects that the current arrangements will continue in relation to this duty.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th December, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.