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: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. 1. 2% and 1% of Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF). 2. Pension scheme.
2. The Union's case is that the Company has not honoured Labour Relations Commission (LRC) proposals, which both parties had agreed to recommend for acceptance, on the following:
(1) The introduction of a pension scheme and
(2) Implementation of revised terms of the PPF - 2% applicable on the 1st of April, 2001, and 1% lump sum on the 1st of April, 2002.
On the 22nd of April, 2001, the following proposal was put at a conciliation conference of the LRC:
1. That the parties agree to implement a defined contribution pension scheme (in line with the Company proposal as amended by this proposal) with a contribution rate of 6% : 3%. The Company accept liability for contributions w.e.f. 1/1/00 in respect of any individual prepared to contribute back to that date.
2. As a special measure the Company agree to a contribution rate of 7% : 3% for eligible staff who had 5 years or more service on 1/1/2000. This proposal addresses the Union claim regarding employees with long service in the Company and who have not enjoyed a pension scheme. Clearly, the measure is confined to the specified group.
The Union accepted the proposal by letter of 25th of January, 2001. On the 20th of August, 2001, at a second conciliation conference, the following proposal was put:
1. The issue of a decision on the pension scheme as proposed by the Labour Relations Commission on the 22nd of January, 2001, to be resolved by the 28th of February, 2002.
2. The 2% PPF to be considered by the 28th of February, 2002.
The Company's case is that it is not in a financial position to meet the claims at present.
Following the failure to reach agreement at the conciliation conferences, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 20th of June, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 2nd of October, 2002, in Cork, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The dispute concerning the pension scheme has been discussed since 1999. The Union believes that both parties accepted the LRC proposals of 25th of January, 2001, regarding the pension scheme. The Company again committed itself to resolving the situation at the LRC hearing of the 20th of August, 2001.
2. The Company already provides a pension scheme for individual staff members and members of management.
3. In May, 2001, the Company asked the Union to defer its claim on the 2% of PPF but said that it would"return to the 2% claim and look at this in a reasonable and positive manner".The Union agreed to the deferment but the Company has still not implemented the payment.
4. 1. The Company has suffered serious financial difficulties in the last number of years (details suppled to the Court). One of the results of this included a redundancy programme which saw staff levels reduce from 650 to 470.
2. Throughout negotiations with the Union, the Company made it clear that any proposals that emerged would be subject to the Board's approval. The Company's present financial difficulties make it impossible to introduce a pension scheme or pay the 2% and 1% lump sum of the PPF.
This is a claim for the introduction of a pension scheme and the payment of 2% and a 1% lump sum as provided for in the revised terms of the PPF. The Company pleaded inability to pay the increases due to its economic and employment circumstances. The financial difficulties of the Company have not been identified to the Court's satisfaction.
The Court recommends payment of the 2% and a 1% lump sum from their due date. Furthermore, the Court recommends that discussions on the introduction of the pension scheme should be deferred until the end of the expiry of the PPF. In the meantime, the Company should introduce a death-in-service scheme.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th November, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.