INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
GARRETT ENGINE BOOSTING SYSTEMS
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Annualised hours agreement in relation to temporary workers.
2. In July, 2002, the Company introduced an annualised hours salary system which was agreed between the parties in respect of production workers. Temporary employees in employment at the time the new system was introduced were placed on the salary scale applicable to new employees. The Union argues that they were existing employees and not new employees and therefore should receive the full annualised hours salary.
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of twenty seven temporary employees for the full salary as outlined in the annualised hours agreement. The Company states that the correct rate of pay was applied.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 21st of November, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 21st of March, 2003, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. During the negotiations regarding the annualised hours system it was agreed that "new employees" meant those who were employed after the date of implementation of the Agreement.
2. The workers concerned were fully involved in the implementation of the Agreement as like the other employees they balloted on the Agreement. They also received a percentage of the lead in payment of €500 which was paid to all employees.
3 The full annualised hours salary should apply to the workers concerned.
4. 1. The workers concerned had service ranging from five weeks to twenty weeks at the date of implementation of the Agreement. The length of service did not warrant the full annualised hours salary.
2. A fair and correct rate of pay was applied to the workers concerned. It was envisaged that they were not going to remain with the Company in the longer term.
3. Concession of the claim would be cost increasing and would threaten the future of the Company.
From the submissions of the parties it appears as if they negotiated at cross purposes in relation to what was intended by the exclusion of "new employees" from the immediate application of the maximum annualised hours rate. As the Company had put forward the proposal to differentiate between existing and new employees it might have been expected that they would make clear what was intended.
On a literal interpretation the construction placed by the Union on the relevant provision of the agreement is cogent. However, under the arrangements in place at the time of their appointment the employees concerned would have had to fulfil a service requirement in order to attain the maximum rate. A similar qualification was agreed in
respect of the new arrangements.
It was not entirely reasonable to assume that this requirement would cease to apply in respect of those encompassed by the current claim.
In all of the circumstances the Court recommends that in the case of the current claimants the full rate should be paid after six months service. In the case of those who attained that service threshold on or before 1st March 2003, the new rate should apply from that date. In other cases the new rate should apply from the date on which six months service is completed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th April, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.