INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
PUNCH INDUSTRIES LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY FRANCES MEENAN, SOLICITORS)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY KIERAN MC CARTHY, SOLICITORS)
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioners Recommendation IR5879/01/TB.
2. The worker has been employed as a Production Manager by the Company (formerly known as Glanmire Industries) for approximately 20 years. His case is that his salary is significantly out of line with other managers in the Company, and he quoted a difference of €6,500 between himself and the Engineering Manager. The worker stated that he only became aware of the discrepancy recently, and when he queried it he was told that it was due to an oversight. The Company offered to pay him a lump sum of
€2,540 to solve the dispute but he refused the offer.
The worker referred his case to a Rights Commissioner and his recommendation is as follows:
On the basis of the evidence there is no obvious reason why there should be a difference in salary between the production manager and the engineering manager.
The Company should increase the salary of the production manager by the €2,540 already proposed. They should take the necessary steps to address the remaining difference over the next 2 years.
The Company appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 23rd of April, 2002, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 6th of November, 2002, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The worker can think of no reason why his salary should be so much lower than the Engineering Manager as their duties are similar.
2. When he queried the issue with the General Manager, the worker was told that he should receive an immediate increase to bring his salary in line with the Engineering Manager.
4. 1. Management believes that it has the right to decide on an individual manager's salary. There are no grounds for a Production Manager and an Engineering Manager having the same salary as their duties and responsibilities are not of equal value.
2. The worker concerned was on a salary of €38,402, plus a bonus of €3,174, plus a Company car as of June, 2001. He was offered a lump sum of €2,539 to resolve the issue but he rejected it.
The Company, as part of its appeal, has requested that the Court "confirm the right of management to decide on an individual manager's salary".
While the Court accepts that management has such a right in cases such as this where personal contracts apply, the Court could not accept that this right is absolute and that it can totally disregard fairness and equity. Indeed, given the nature and purpose of personal contracts, to reward performance and motivate managers, it would be counter productive to ignore a perception of unfairness.
In this case, the Court is satisfied that the claimant was told by his superior that the salary difference between himself and the Engineer Manager was as a result of an oversight. No other satisfactory explanation was given to the Court for the difference.
Having considered the background to this case, the Court is satisfied the Rights Commissioner's recommendation is the appropriate way to resolve this dispute.
The Court, therefore, rejects the appeal and upholds the Rights Commissioner's recommendation.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th November, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.