INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
SANDVIK TAMROCK (IRISH BRANCH)
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Implementation of pay agreement.
2. Sandvik Tamrock (Irish Branch) is a contractor to Arcon Mines, supplying maintenance services and parts for heavy mining equipment which is manufactured by its parent company in Finland. It employs 25 people, 15 of which are under a contract arrangement to Arcon, Kilkenny, the remaining 10 provide services to other zinc mines in Ireland.
- The Union claims that the Company has failed to honour the terms of their Agreement in May, 2001, on rates of pay. The Company maintains that the issue at that time was shift work, not rates of pay, and that it is not in a position to unilaterally increase hourly rates. It also contends that there was no signed agreement.
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 25th March, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place in Kilkenny on the 28th August, 2002, the earliest date suitable to both parties and a second hearing took place on the 17th of December, 2001.
3. 1. The Pay Agreement was entered into, at the Company’s request, in May, 2001. The rates of pay (the MECA rates) are included in clause 5 of the agreement. It is totally unacceptable that the terms are not being honoured.
2. Arcon Mine is interfering in order to suppress the rate of pay on site.
4. 1. There was no agreement to pay the MECA rates of pay. Due to the nature of Sandvik’s contract with Arcon, the Company cannot make changes to pay rates or conditions without prior approval of Arcon. Arcon is not in a position to pay increases to its own workforce.
2. Historically the rates of pay between the Company and Arcon employees have remained similar. Any increases conceded to the Company would have repercussive effects for Arcon employees.
3. The mining sector has experienced a sharp downturn in activity. This has resulted in mining companies and related industries having to implement cutbacks. An increase in the hourly rates of pay would force the Company into considering its future operations in Ireland.
4. The Company’s interest in Arcon has not been a profitable venture, to date.
The Court has considered the position of both sides to this dispute. The Union maintains that an agreement entered into in May, 2001, included an agreement to pay the MECA rates. The Company is of the view that the agreement was not accepted.
The Court is of the view that the Union had good reason to believe that it had an agreement in May, 2001, which included an agreement to pay MECA rates and, therefore, these are payable.
The Court wishes to draw attention to the possibility that the Company's contract with its client could be jeopardised by this position and, therefore, the Court recommends that the parties should take this situation into account in further discussions.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th December, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Caroline Hayes, Court Secretary.