INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
MJM ELECTRONICS & MJM MANUFACTURING
(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. Claim for additional 2% of Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) and 5.5% Phase 2 due on the 1st of June, 2001.
2. The Companies are small family-owned indigenous companies based in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. They employ 27 workers, 21 of whom are production operators, and are involved in the automotive industry. The parties met in February, 2001, to discuss the application of the 2% increase provided for under the revision of the PPF. Management informed the Union that due to trading difficulties it could not pay the 2% or, indeed, the 5.5% due under Phase 2 of the PPF. It sought co-operation from the Union in terms of a wage restraint.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place on the 27th of June, 2001. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 23rd of July, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 5th of December, 2001, in Limerick, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The worker's are paid the minimum wage of £4.70 (5.97 Euro) per hour which makes them the lowest paid workers in the electronics assembly sector.
2. When the parties agreed a deal in December, 2000, ongoing efficiencies were given which the Companies continue to enjoy. The Companies are a viable ongoing concern, and much of this is due to the continuing efforts of the employees.
3. The workers have consistently satisfied Clause 7 of the PPF by co-operating with all the necessary measures to sustain competitiveness and employment levels within the Companies.
4. 1. The Companies are experiencing serious financial and trading difficulties (details supplied to the Court). Figures for September, 2000, compared to September, 2001, show a major decline in sales.
2. Clause 7 of the PPF refers to "the economic, commercial and employment circumstances" of a firm, and the revision of the PPF "provides that particular regard must be had for a number of circumstances where competitiveness and employment are at risk." The Companies cannot afford to pay what the Union is claiming in the present circumstances.
The Companies argued that Clause 7 of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness provided for consideration of the economic, commercial and employment circumstances of the particular firm, and that particular regard must be had for a number of circumstances where competitiveness and employment are at risk.
However, the Companies failed to produce evidence to support their arguments in relation to Clause 7. While the business has suffered recently, the bulk of the arguments made centred on a very narrow period. The Companies were not prepared to give the Court figures requested to enable it to consider the Companies' financial situation, but did subsequently supply forecast P & L figures for 2002.
In the absence of sufficient evidence to support the Companies' case, the Court finds for the Union in this dispute.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd January, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.