INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY FEDERATION (CIF)
- AND -
CONSTRUCTION GROUP OF UNIONS
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Finishing bonus.
2. The Unions' claim is for a "finishing bonus" or payment in lieu of notice (P.I.L.O.N.) for all appropriate workers who were involved in the Wyeth Construction site in Clondalkin. The claim is for €5,000 per worker and the C.I.F. estimates approximately 2000 are involved. The Unions argue that P.I.L.O.N.s were the norm in large industrial sites in the 1970s and 1980s. The C.I.F., which is representing the contractors involved in the site, claims that the contractors cannot afford to pay.
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 9th of September, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th of September, 2002.
3. 1. Over the years, numerous precedents have been set for the establishment of P.I.L.O.N. agreements on large industrial sites. These occured where the duration of the work would run for 2/3 years.
2. Wyeth is a major multi-national health care company. The claim is quite modest considering the hundreds of millions of Euro spent on constructing the site.
3. The work involved is heavy, demanding and very complex. It involves workers having to learn new skills, often with very little formal training.
4. 1. The Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) has been met in full and there is no provision for additional payment. The claim is clearly in breach of the PPF.
2. The employers have met all the terms of the agreements reached between the Unions and the C.I.F.
3. The Labour Court has already rejected similar claims in the past e.g. LCR 13830 and LCR 16415.
4. Since 2000, construction workers have earned major increases (46%) on the hourly rate of pay even though only 17% was due under the PPF.
The Court has taken consideration of all aspects of the arguments put forward on both sides in this case.
The Court cannot accept that there are established criteria for the payment of a finishing bonus as claimed by the Unions which justify its payment in this case. The incident of such bonuses is so rare, in the present climate of the construction industry, that the Court is not satisfied that such a payment is warranted on this particular site.
However, the Court endorses the suggestion made in Labour Court Recommendation No:16415 that "the parties should seek to establish, through the NJIC for the industry, agreed guidelines on the circumstances, if any, in which claims of the nature now before the Court could be processed".
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
8th October, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.