INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ARCON MINES LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. 1. Alleged failure to pay maintenance incentive scheme for one year. 2. Alleged non-application of National Agreements to the rate for maintenance craftsmen
2. The Company is the only Irish owned and operated base metal mine and it employs 194 workers in the extraction of lead/zinc. It commenced full operations in 1997. The claim concerns 19 craftworkers and is for improved basic pay and retrospection of an incentive scheme . In May, 1998, the Company claims that agreement was reached on rates of pay and an incentive scheme which had the potential to yield 12.5%. The Union was unhappy with the situation and the issue was referred to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). Conciliation conferences took place in June and August, 1998, but a proposal from the LRC was rejected by the workers and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court. The Court issued LCR16028 which endorsed the LRC proposal, and LCR16028 was accepted by the workers.
The Union's main problem is that it claims that the incentive scheme was seriously flawed and did not pay the 12.5% of basic pay achievable. It is also seeking the implementation of the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF). The Company's view is that it has not been part of National Pay Agreements, and that the incentive scheme is now paying 12.5%.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place on the 24th of November, 2000. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 8th of February, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 4th of December, 2001, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. It was only when the Company radically changed the incentive scheme in 2000 that it began to pay the 12.5% that it was supposed to in 1998.
2. The Company has not implemented the terms of the PPF and is in breach of that agreement. The rates of pay at the Company are very bad.
4. 1. Whilst the Company acknowledges that the incentive scheme did not yield the 12.5% from the beginning, it is doing so now.There was a potential for the scheme to pay 12.5%, not a guarantee.
2. The Company has not been party to the National Agreements. The Union signed up to an agreement on pay in May, 1998 and this agreement is in place until May, 2002.
The Court, after consideration of the written and oral submissions made by the parties, recommends as follows on the two issues in dispute:
1.Maintenance Incentive Scheme
The Court is satisfied that the expectations of both parties in relation to the Incentive Scheme were not met. Given that this was a key element in the settlement of a previous dispute, the Court recommends that the Company makes an offer to part compensate for the initial failure of the scheme. If the parties fail to reach agreement, the Court will make a definitive recommendation on this matter.
2.Non-application of National Agreements
It would appear that the Company and the Union have for some time operated outside the National Agreements.
The Court is satisfied that there is an agreement in place since May, 1998, due to expire in April, 2002, and, therefore, does not recommend concession of the Union's claim in this case.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd January, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.