INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
KINGSPAN BUILDING PRODUCTS
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Reduction in working hours.
2. The Company is engaged in the manufacture and sale of building materials to the building trade. The Company employs 250 staff at its plant in Co. Cavan. The Union originally claimed a pay increase for the clerical staff in the Company but subsequently accepted that pay scales were not out of line. The Union then sought a number of other changes/improvements in conditions of employment and these were narrowed down to three, (a) transparency in appointments, (b) service pay and (c) reduction in working hours.
Discussions took place but no agreement was reached. The matters were the subject of three conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on 26th. October, 2001. 19th. December, 2001 and 5th. February, 2002. Agreement in principle was reached ontransparency in appointments and service pay but agreement was not reached on the reduction in working hours. The Union's claim is that the working week for clerical /administrative staff be reduced from 39 hours to 37.5 hours.
The matter was referred to the Labour Court under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 13th, November, 2002.
3. 1. All major and medium size companies both in the region and nationally have conditions of employment which are superior to those in the Company.
2. A 37.5 hour week is the norm in all major and medium sized companies.
3. The reduction in hours would not be cost increasing.
4. Production would not be interfered with and overall output would be maintained.
4. 1. The claim for a 37.5 hour week is cost increasing and is, therefore, barred under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
2. Concession of this claim would a very serious impact on an already difficult competitive position.
3. An independently conducted staff survey showed that 91% of the staff believe that their terms and conditions of employment are as good as other local employers.
4. The Company has made genuine efforts to resolve issues, in order to equalise conditions of employment between factory and clerical staff.
There appears to be agreement in principle on the issue of transparency of appointments and service pay, subject to reaching agreement on the third issue, a shorter working week.
The Company position is that the claim for a reduction in the working week is barred under the PPF and, therefore, cannot be conceded.
The Court having considered the written and oral submissions finds that the claim for a shorter working week to be cost increasing and, therefore, in breach of the PPF.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th November, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Helena McDermott, Court Secretary.