INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HEATONS LIMITED, DUNDALK
- AND -
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Payment of additional 2% of Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF).
2. The Company has 26 stores in Ireland, and the claim is on behalf of the sales assistants in Dundalk. The Company currently operates separate agreements for each store in relation to pay and conditions: in the case of Dundalk this includes a staff incentive scheme. The Dundalk agreement came about following a meeting on 17th of October, 2000. The Union wrote to the Company on the 10th of May, 2001, seeking the additional 2% payment as per the PPF which was due on the 1st of April, 2001. The Company refused to pay.
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 24th of January, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 1st of March, 2002, in Dundalk.
3. 1. The only increase given by the Company above a National Wage Agreement was that of the 17th of October, 2000. This increase was sought and obtained during Partnership 2000.
2. There are a number of grounds for refusing to pay the additional payments of the PPF, e.g. employments in vulnerable sectors or employments who are experiencing economic and commercial difficulties, but the Company has not cited them.
3. The staff incentive scheme was introduced without consultation or agreement with the Union. The Company can withdraw it at any time.
4. Several companies, e.g. Shaws, Roches Stores and Arnotts have paid the 2% despite the fact that they pay commission. Other companies which pay a Christmas Bonus have also paid the 2%.
4. 1. The result of the 17th of October, 2000, agreement was that staff received increases of between 15.5% and 39% following the application of Phase 1 of the PPF on the 1st of November, 2000. These increases are far in excess of the terms of the original increases contained in the PPF.
2. The Company operates a unique staff incentive scheme. In 2000, the scheme paid out £12,417
(€15,766 ) to 22 workers in the Dundalk shop, an average increase of £1.11 (€1.41) on the hourly rate.
3. The agreement of the 17th of October, 2000, expressly precludes any cost-increasing claims for the duration of the PPF.
4. The Company believes that Clause 7 of PPF - the stability enhancing measures - was envisaged to protect employers who have funded increases such as those put in place by the Company.
The Court has considered the oral and written submission of the parties, and recommends that the Company should pay the 2% increase due under the revised terms of PPF with retrospective effect from the due date, and the Union should enter into discussions on the proposed changes to the sick pay scheme as requested by the Company.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st March, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.