INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Appeal by the Company against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation No. IR 9109/02/FL.
2. The appeal concerns a worker who commenced employment as a sales representative Grade 2 on the 25th February, 2001. His starting salary was €15,236 p.a. and he was on a six months probationary period. The worker claimed, inter alia, that he did not receive the full increases due under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF). The Company rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation. On the 25th September, 2002 the Rights Commissioner issued his recommendation as follows;
"I recommend that the claimant's salary be increased to €16,798.64 per annum, from 1st May, 2002 and that he be paid €750 in lieu of retrospection of the wage increase he should have been paid in August, 2001.................".
On the 29th October, 2002 the Company appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court. The Court heard the appeal on the 16th January, 2003.
3. 1.The Company has stated in the terms and conditions of employment that it does review pay increases in line with the PPF. However, the Company does not follow the pay agreement per se, rather it benchmarks its pay increases against those of the National Agreement. The Company conducts its annual reviews in March and April of each year. In 2000 it awarded an average of 8% pay increase. In 2001 it awarded an average of 8% pay increase. In 2002 it awarded an average of pay increase of 5%.
2.The pay awards given by the Company were in excess of the pay increases given under the PPF, demonstrating that the Company does not rigidly follow the percentages increases prescribed by the National Agreement.
3.The claimant commenced employment at the end of February, 2001. The Company conducts its annual pay reviews in March and April. The claimant had one month's service at the time of the annual review in March, 2001. He did not receive a pay increase in 2001, as the Company does not award pay increases
to those on probation and only increases its pay rates at the annual pay review.
4.The Company had paid the claimant the appropriate rate of pay at the commencement of his employment. This rate was set in light of the fact that the Company applies its pay increases annually and does not apply pay increases during or following the completion of the probationary period.
5.The claimant did receive a 5% pay increase when the Company conducted its annual pay reviews in May, 2002.
6.The Company treated the claimant fairly and in accordance with Company policy on pay which applies to all its employees.
4. 1.The claimant had a contractual right to be paid the full terms of the PPF. The Company has not paid the PPF increases.
2.The Company's claim of an average of 8% increase could mean that the payroll increased by 8% due to pay increases awarded to staff as performance increases but in fact no increases under the PPF were awarded to the worker as is his contractual right.
3.While the Company does not increase salaries during probation the worker did have the right, as asserted by the Rights Commissioner, to increases after the end of his probation as failure in this regard meant he lost his Grade 2 rate.
4.The claimant seeks the application of all PPF increases due to his salary and the application of all new rates to sick pay, holiday pay and minimum notice pay entitlements.
Having considered the submissions of the parties the Court is satisfied that the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner is reasonable and ought to be implemented.
Accordingly, the Employer's appeal is disallowed and the recommendation is affirmed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd January, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.