INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
DAIRYGOLD CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY LIMITED
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY MANDATE)
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR7012/01/Mr.
2. The worker is employed as a Sales Assistant. The standard working week in the Company is 38.5 hours. The worker (plus 21 other employees) works a 38 hour week but is paid for 38.5 hours as per an agreement reached in 1987. It was decided that 38.5 hours would be used for overtime and pension purposes. In 2001, following negotiations on the harmonisation of wage round dates, the Society decided to regularise the issue of 38.5 hours v 38 hours. It offered to pay the worker twice the annual loss (which would equate to 6 days' pay) if he agreed to work a 38.5 hour week. The worker rejected the offer and the case was referred to a Rights Commissioner, whose recommendation was as follows:-
Accordingly, I recommend that the Society should amend its offer of compensation to the worker, in the particular and once-off circumstances that apply, to the equivalent of nine days pay and the worker and Mandate should accept this amended offer in return for his agreeing to work the additional half hour per week proposed by the Society.
The Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 1st of July, 2002, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. Following the recommendation, the Society made a further offer as follows:-
(a) The anomaly currently in operation whereby one group of employees work a 38 hour week and the other work a 38.5 hour week will continue to operate.
(b) The additional half hour's pay will be bought out as per the Rights Commissioner's recommendation of a compensation payment of 9 days' pay.
(c) In the event of the employees on the 38 hour week working overtime, the payment for overtime will only commence after 38.5 hours worked. The first half hour after 38 hours will be paid at basic rate as this half hour would be bought out at overtime rate.
The worker again rejected the offer. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 6th of November 2002, in Cork.
3. 1. The Union understood that all issues had been dealt with following rationalisation talks in 2000. The Society is now looking for a second opportunity for further concessions.
2. An agreement exists in regard to the 38 hours and is binding on both parties. It can only be changed by agreement of both parties.
3. The practice of the 38 hour week does not have a negative effect on the operational needs of the store. The Society's attempt to change is purely a cost-saving exercise.
4. 1. A rationalisation programme was completed in 2000 at a huge cost to the Society. This involved redundancies, lump sum payments and improved pension scheme.
2. The wage harmonisation claim was conceded on the basis of acceptance by staff of changed working conditions.
3. The Society made a second improved offer to the worker but this was rejected.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties, supports the Rights Commissioner's findings. The Court, therefore, upholds the Rights Commissioner's recommendation and rejects the appeal.
In upholding the Rights Commissioner's recommendation, the Court is conscious that another offer was made by the Company before the hearing.
Given this situation, the Court recommends that the claimant be allowed choose between the Company offer on compensation and the Rights Commissioners recommendation on compensation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th November 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.