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: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Backfunding of pension entitlements.
2. The Union has submitted a claim on behalf of eighteen members for backfunding of pension entitlements. The workers are employed at the Henry Street branch.
The Company states that in April, 1984, it opened its pension scheme to all employees. It was a defined contribution scheme and membership of the scheme was optional. In 1999, it was made a term and condition of employment for new entrants. The Company rejects the Union's claim for backfunding of the pension scheme for these employees.
The Union claims that its members were not made aware that it was in their interests to join the pension scheme.
As no agreement was possible between the parties, the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 24th of July, 2001, but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 27th of July, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 28th of February, 2002.
3. 1. The members did not join the pension scheme in 1984 because they were not made aware it was to their benefit to join, nor was it clear that it was open to their grade.
2. The Union is asking the Court to take into account that twenty years ago, general operative grades were not as well informed or knowledgeable on the benefits of pension schemes as workers entering employment today are.
3. It is unreasonable for management to put full responsibility for non-action in respect of pension rights on a group of workers to whom pension schemes were alien.
4. This group of workers were conditioned by the Company to accept that Arnotts Pension Scheme did not apply to their grade.
4. 1. In 1984, the Company produced an explanatory pension booklet and employees were advised of the existence and availability of the pension scheme.
2. Given that the scheme has been open to them for nearly eighteen years, it is beyond belief that these employees maintain that neither the Company or indeed the Union or fellow employees made them aware of the pension scheme.
3. Eight members of the Union joined the pension scheme in 1990.
4. The justification for the claim as put forward by the Union, is spurious and cannot be accepted.
5. The Company cannot countenance concession of the claim either in principle or in respect of the cost.
The Court having considered the background to this dispute is satisfied that the Company has acted reasonably in this case.
The Court does not find merit in the Union's arguments, therefore, rejects the claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th March, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.