INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(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. Pay relations.
2. The dispute is a claim on behalf of approximately 50 general operatives (GOs) and is for the restoration of a differential between them and supervisors/foremen grade.
The Union claims that the dispute came about when the Company granted a substantial pay increase to the supervisors/foremen, in 2001, over and above payments provided for in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) while at the same time limiting pay increases to the GOs. The Company's case is that there was never a link between the 2 groups and that, therefore, no differential existed.
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 20th of December, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 14th of May, 2003, in Galway, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Union has found it very difficult to arrange a meeting to discuss the dispute with the Company and this has added to the anger of the workers concerned. There has also been difficulty in finding out the actual level of the pay increases to the supervisors.
2. Differentials were established when pay levels were set in a 1983 agreement. The exception to this was caused by the large increase paid to the supervisors in 2001.
3. The Union was not aware until the Labour Court hearing that the foremen had negotiated separate deals with the Company.
4. 1. The foreman form their own supervisory group. They are non-unionised and have always negotiated directly with the Company since 1983, including a number of pay deals since 1986.
2. The pay increase to the foremen in 2001 was for changes to the overtime rate and improved flexibility.
3. There is no direct relationship between the foremens' rate and the hourly rate of the GOs.
4. The Union's claim is cost-increasing and is debarred under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF).
The management claim that on a number of occasions over the years the Supervisory/Foreman Group negotiated deals outside the National Agreement while accepting that others were confined to the National Agreement.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties, is not satisfied that the Union has proven that a relativity existed between the Supervisory/Foreman Group and other grades in the Company.
The Court, therefore, does not recommend concession of the Union claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
12th June, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.