INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
MID WEST SECURITY
(REPRESENTED BY MANAGEMENT SUPPORT SERVICES)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Pay rates.
2. The Company currently employs approximately 135 workers in the Munster region. In March, 2000, the first Security Industry Joint Labour Committee (JLC) Employment Regulation Order (ERO) came into effect. At the time, the rate of pay for the workers was the equivalent to €4.76 basic pay per hour plus a non-taxable subsistence payment of €0.89 per hour. Following the introduction of the ERO, the Company claims that it was necessary for it to change its method of payment, including removing the subsistence payment. The Union is also in dispute regarding payment of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) and believes that a 5% payment is outstanding. The Company believes that all monies due under the National Agreements have been paid, although it admits that they may not have been paid at the exact time due. A third issue is the Company's decision to change its policy of paying average pay for holidays to payment for a standard 40 hours per week.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and 3 conciliation conferences took place. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 5th of March, 2003, in Limerick. .
3. 1. The Union has experienced problems with the Company since the mid -1990's, especially in regard to payment due under the National Wage Agreements. The Company has been unable to prove that all monies due have been paid.
2. The Company unilaterally removed the €0.89 subsistence payment and has refused to discuss the issue.
3. Other security firms in the area have much more beneficial pay structures for their workers. The Union is only seeking what is standard in the industry.
4.A number of workers have lost out financially as a result of the changes introduced.
4. 1. The Company was forced to change its methods of payment of wages and took the following steps:
(1) Consolidated the allowance into the basic rate of pay, creating a new basic rate of pay of £4.40 (€5.60) per hour. (The €0.89 payment should have been subject to taxation all along.)
(2) Introduced the Sunday allowance and payment of overtime after 40 hours worked on the new increased hourly rate.
(3) Introduced the night payment allowance as required under the Employment Regulation Order.
2. The workers concerned have suffered no financial loss as a result of the changes.
3. The Company believes that it has paid all increases due under the various National Agreements.
The Court was presented with comprehensive written and oral submissions during the hearings on this case.
The Company's case is that the introduction of the Employment Regulation Order resulted in the Company having to radically change the way it operated its pay system. The Company further argued that it had to comply with its legal obligations for taxation purposes.
The Union argues that the Company, on the introduction of the J.L.C. terms, withdrew a subsistence allowance enjoyed by the employees and abandoned the practice of employees receiving the benefit of average pay for holidays. The Company, it was claimed, had “failed to honour any of the terms of either PPF or the revised terms of the PPF".
The Court accepts that the Company could not be expected to maintain the payments that should have been subject to taxation, although it would appear that the Company had no problems with this practice before the introduction of the ERO.
It is clear also that it was as a result of changes in the method of payment, arising from the introduction of the Regulation, that the average holiday pay was discontinued.
In relation to the other issue in dispute - whether employees had been given the PPF increases due prior to the introduction of the ERO - the Court is unable to decide one way or the other from the information supplied.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
29th July, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.