INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Pay increase.
2. Coillte was established in 1989 as a commercial state company. It undertakes the full range of forestry activity - land acquisition, planting, forest maintenance and timber sales. The Union's claim is on behalf of 22 Weighbridge workers engaged in timber measurement, and is for an increase in basic pay from
€408.55 to €444.41 per week. The workers also receive a shift allowance of 16.6%.
In July, 1996, the Union submitted a claim on behalf of the workers for a rate comparable to that of the Area Foreman grade. The Company rejected the claim. A similar claim was rejected in 1997, but the Company agreed to review the situation. In September, 1999, the Company issued a final set of proposals (details supplied to the Court) which was rejected by the workers.
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 10th of October, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 13th of March, 2002, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Company has always acknowledged the vital role of the Weighbridge staff but is not willing to pay them accordingly.
2. The Area Foremen, despite the title, have no supervisory role. They do not work flexible hours to the same extent as the workers concerned.
3. There are only 22 workers - out of a total of 900 plus in the Company- involved. The increase to the Company would be minimal.
4. 1. It is absolutely necessary for the Company to become a low-cost producer of quality logs to remain in business. Overheads and ancillary costs must be kept at a minimum.
2. If the Union's claim were conceded, it would seriously undermine the position of the Area Foreman. Despite the Union's claim, the Area Foreman does have a wide-ranging role.
3. The Company's offer of September, 1999, exceeded the Union's claim by embracing areas such as sick pay, late shift, status and pensionability of shift pay. The offer is still available.
The claim has been ongoing since 1996. In September, 1999, following protracted discussions and arising from the work of the Joint Working Group, a set of proposals was put forward to deal with the claim.
Having carefully considered both sides' arguments on this claim, the Court is of the view that there is no basis for changing the proposals of 1999. Therefore, the Court recommends acceptance of these proposals.
The Court notes that the proposals provide for the application of the revised shift rates on the basis of retrospective application to March, 1996.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st March, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.