INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
NEXANS IRELAND LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. 4% due under Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF).
2. The Union's case concerns the final phase (4%) of the PPF which was due from the 1st of September, 2002, but has not yet been paid by the Company. The Company manufactures mains cables for the construction and electrical industries, and it employs approximately 100 workers. The Company claims that due to its serious financial situation it is unable to pay the PPF and it does not see any prospect of it being paid before 2004.
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 26th of November, 2002, in accordance with Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 21st of January, 2003.
3. 1. The Company has made no meaningful effort to pay the 4% of the PPF, despite the continuous support and co-operation of the workers.
2. The Company only paid the 2% local bargaining clause of the P 2000 agreement, under threat of industrial action. The Company is obliged under the PPF to pay the 4%.
4. 1. The Company has performed poorly since 1989 (details supplied to the Court). The prospect of any improvement in either price or demand for its product in 2003 is very low.
2. The Company has paid all Phases of the PPF to date apart from the 4% in question.
3. The objective for the plant in Athlone is survival and to see the Company return to at least a "break even" financial situation. It cannot do this if it has to pay the 4% PPF in 2003.
The Court has given serious consideration to the written and oral submissions of both sides. The Court is of the view that the parties have not sufficiently engaged in analysing the financial position of the Company and, therefore, recommends that both sides should meet to examine the situation. The Court suggests that a Partnership approach should be taken to this exercise, which should be completed within two months of this recommendation. In that regard, the Court recommends that the Union should avail of the expertise available within its own organisation.
The Court is of the view that the information given by management at the hearing may give the parties an opportunity to reassess their relative positions and reach an accommodation.
If no agreement is reached within the timeframe outlined, then the Court will issue a definitive recommendation on the claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th January, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.