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: Mr. Somers
1. Company's refusal to maintain long established pay differentials for butchers.
2. The Union's claim is on behalf of approximately 132 butchers throughout their Dublin stores. Superquinn butchers are exclusively members of SIPTU. Their function is to serve red and uncooked meat, and to make and sell sausages. Bacon-hands - who are members of MANDATE - serve the bacon, fish and delicatessen counters. The claim is that a differential which existed between butchers and bacon-hands has been eroded due to a pay increase to bacon-hands following an agreement in September, 2001. The Company's view is that there has never been an established differential between the two groups.
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 13th of February, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 30th of May, 2002, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. Since the Company opened in 1960, butchers have been paid a differential over the bacon-hands. All pay increases have been paid to both groups.
2. The differential paid to the butchers is acknowledged by the Company and is paid by its competitors - Tesco, Supervalue and JC Savages.
3. The bacon-hands in Superquinn received their extra payment in September, 2001, without asking for it. The reason given by the Company was"to take account of changes in the market and economic circumstances".
4. 1. There has never been an established differential between butchers and bacon hands, or indeed any other category of workers, all of whom have separate agreements. There is no reference to a differential in agreements or contracts.
2. The bacon hands received a pay increase in September, 2001, following negotiations regarding a new agreement. They got the increase because of increased flexibilities. The Union's claim is, in effect, a "copy-cat"claim.
3. The claim is precluded by the terms of Clause 11 of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF).
The Labour Court has given careful consideration to the written and oral submissions of the parties. The Union on behalf of butchers sought the restoration of a differential following the application of an average of 4% increases to baconhands. The Court accepts that these increases in pay were introduced as a result of an agreement being reached on flexibility measures. However, it has given rise to an expectation by the butchers that similar increases would apply to them, as has happened in the past.
The Court recommends that this claim should be addressed by both parties entering into discussion on concluding an agreement to introduce similar and appropriate flexibility measures.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
6th June, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.