INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
C.B. PACKAGING LTD
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Reduction in manning level.
2. The Company produces packaging at its plant in Clondalkin. It wants to reduce the manning levels in the services area from six workers to four workers as a result of a decline in sales.
The Union rejected the Company's proposals.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held in March, 2001, at which the parties agreed to have the Irish Productivity Centre (IPC) examine the manning levels in the services area. The IPC reported that four workers were sufficient to man the services area. The Union rejected the IPC's proposals. A further conciliation conference was held on the 28th of January, 2002, but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 4th of March, 2002, under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 4th of July, 2002 (the earliest date suitable to the parties).
3. 1. The Company could take on extra work from other companies within the Clondalkin Group as a solution to the matter.
2. The IPC report was flawed. It failed to study or examine a number of tasks which the workers perform.
3. One of the six workers concerned has since retired. The Company has refused to advertise this post as they are required to do under a Company/Union agreement.
4. The staff involved are adamant that the proposed rescheduling of work cannot be undertaken by four workers.
5. The Union requests the Court to recommend that the status quo be maintained.
4. 1. The IPC report clearly shows that the appropriate manning levels required is four.
2. The Company is faced with a number of competitive pressures brought about by increased competition, consolidation of its customer base and a decline in the demand for its products.
3. Rationalisation has taken place in all other areas of the plant. Manning levels in the services area have remained the same despite a substantial reduction in work load.
4. The Company has complied with all of the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness and previous national agreements without receiving any flexibility in return. The proposed changes by the Company are critical to its ability to remain competitive.
The Court notes that the consultants appointed to assess the practicalities of the proposed new crewing arrangements are an independent body nominated jointly by the parties. The Court can see no basis on which it could interfere with their conclusions.
The Court recommends that the Union accept that the crewing levels be modified as proposed by the Company. However, the parties should have further discussions on how this is to be achieved, to be concluded by end of August.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th July, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.