INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
OLYMPUS DIAGNOSTICA GMBH
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Completion of line-clearance forms.
2. The Company was established in Ireland in 1982, and develops and manufactures medical diagnostic reagents. The dispute concerns the filling of line-clearance forms by Grade 1 employees in the packaging line.
In 2001, a viability programme was agreed between the parties, and in return the workers concerned received €21.58 per week above the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF). The Company agreed to create a new grade (grade 4), and a number of employees were upgraded. The Company's case is that the new agreement meant that Grade 1 workers would be responsible for filling the line clearance forms. The Union maintains that this role is the responsibility of a Grade 3 operator, and that the Company agreed to the creation of an additional Grade 3 specifically for this purpose. Whilst the Union accepts that Grade 1 operatives did the disputed work for a period, there was disagreement between the parties as to how long it continued.
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 3rd of April, 2003, in accordance with section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act. 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 2nd of July, 2003, in Limerick,
3. 1. The new agreement resulted in changed responsibility for the Grade 1 operatives. They were generously rewarded for the added responsibilities.
2. The agreement states that"all operatives are responsible for their own work in terms of output, quality and documentation required".The Company never envisaged that the work in question would be done by a Grade 3 operative.
3.The Company is involved in a very competitive business. A long-standing Company/Union agreement states that the Company has the exclusive right to plan, organise and manage its business to achieve maximum efficiency.
3. 1. When the Union raised the issue of paperwork and line clearance, management's position was that Grade 1 operatives would have no responsibility other than their own work.
2. The Union's recollection is that management stated that the filling of the line-clearance forms would be the responsibility of a Grade 3 operative, and that one was appointed especially for that task.
3. The Union would not have signed the agreement in 2001 if it believed that the Grade 1 operatives would have to fill the line-clearance form.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties, is satisfied that the claimants did sign the required forms for a significant period outside the "under protest" period, and that the requirement to sign was implicit in the job description of the claimants' contract in the viability agreement.
The Court, therefore, recommends that the claimants complete the forms as required, and that the issue be addressed by the parties on expiry of the current agreement.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
29th July, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.