INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Mirror and Tribune monies.
2. The Company, in addition to the Sunday World, prints a number of titles under contract. In 2001, a new comprehensive agreement was concluded. Major changes were implemented including the elimination of many practices that were unacceptable to the Company. Prior to this agreement the Company used to make payments ("title money") to its workers for working on additional titles. Where a contract was for less than 100,000 copies per print run the Company paid two hours overtime, and where the contract was for over 100,000 copies it paid three hours overtime. When the Company introduced the Mirror and Tribune titles it refused to make these payments to workers in the Bindery Department.The Union claims that these payments are rightfully due and should be paid. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held but agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission in January, 2003. A Court hearing was held on the 21st March, 2003.
3. 1. When the Tribune was contracted the "title money" was paid to workers. Subsequently the Company unilaterally withdrew it. The first shift in place continued to do the work under protest for eleven weeks. The shift changed and the second shift refused to handle the contract and were paid the "title money". This continued up to the 2001 Agreement. However, the claimants on shift one were not paid and each lost the eleven weeks "title money". They should be paid these arrears.
2 In respect of the Mirror contract new workers were taken on to produce it and did not qualify for "title money". However, the claimants were involved in the same work on the Mirror as they did for other titles (for which they received "title money") but were not paid the money for the Mirror contract.
4. 1. The Union's claim is invalidated under the 1988 agreement. The agreement (Appendix 2) clearly states:-
This agreement covers all titles that the company contracts to produce.
It is clearly understood that as long as this agreement exists the company may introduce publications other than those currently being produced."
2. The claim is also invalid under the 2001 agreement. Under this agreement, accepted by all staff, "no compensation was or would be payable, and the terms offered were in full and final settlement of all claims".
The Court was asked to consider claims of payment for the introduction of the Sunday Tribune and the Daily Mirror.
Having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties the Court is satisfied that the 1998 Agreement gave the Company freedom to introduce new publications without extra payments for the claimants. The Court, therefore, rejects the Union's claim.
The Court was also requested to consider a claim for payment of "title money" to a number of employees who worked under protest for eleven weeks at the introduction of the Sunday Tribune.
While the Court accepts the Company right to introduce new titles without extra payment such a payment was made to the changeover shift when industrial action threatened to affect production.
The Court is of the view that it is entirely unfair and indeed encourages bad industrial relations to disadvantage employees who abide by the procedures.
In this case those who worked under protest got nothing, those who took, in the management's words "unofficial action " got a payment.
The Court having considered the background to the case recommends that the Company make the payment, for the eleven weeks in dispute, to the claimants
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
1st April, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.