INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Pay rates for 2 clerical staff.
2. The Company is involved in the distribution of pharmaceutical related products and has invested a considerable amount in new technology in the last number of years. The dispute concerns 2 clerical workers - Ms. C and Ms. G - who have been employed by the Company for 14 years and 27 years respectively. (The Company supplied comprehensive details of their duties to the Court). They are both seeking an increase in their weekly wage of €40 - €50 per week. The Company claims that it made an offer of €0.25 per hour to Ms. G (approximately €9 per week) but it was rejected. The Union maintains that it was €0.18 per hour. The Company operates a 7-point scale. Ms. C is on the top point of €10.55 per hour. Ms. G is paid a differential bringing her pay up to
€10.92 per hour.
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 5th of March, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 10th of July, 2002, in Limerick.
3. 1. Both workers have been in discussions with the Company for a number of years with regards to securing a pay rise but without success.
2. The Company has acknowledged that Ms. G is due a pay rise but the offer of
€0.18 per hour is disappointing, particularly considering the skills level she has acquired.
3. Ms. C took over another colleague's duties a number of years ago (details supplied to the Court). She was led to believe that the Company would "do something" for her regarding a pay rise but nothing has happened.
4. 1. All employees in the Company have received the increases due under the various national agreements.
2. Ms. C is on the top point of a long-established scale for clerical staff. Her duties have not expanded as the Union claims. Indeed, many of her duties are now easier due to the introduction of new technology in the last few years.
3. The worker is already being paid a differential to reflect her additional responsibilities.The Company offered her a 2.5% increase which was refused. If her claim was conceded there could be knock-on implications. Both claims are cost-increasing and debarred under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
The Court has given consideration to the submission of the parties in relation to this claim for a pay increase by two clerical employees. The Court accepts that both claimants attempted to process these claims over a long period of time.
(i) In the case of Ms. C, the Court understands that notwithstanding the reduction in some of her duties, she did take on 60% of the duties of a more senior colleague.
(ii) In the case of Ms. G, the Company has traditionally paid a differential in recognition of the highly skilled nature of her work. In recognition of the erosion of that differential over time, the Company initially made an offer to increase it. As this offer was rejected, it was subsequently withdrawn.
The Court recommends that in all the circumstances of these cases, and in recognition of the goodwill and co-operation shown by the claimants, their rate should be increased by €15 per week.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th July, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.