INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Progression from TO1 To TO 2.
2. In 1999 the Company implemented a major capital investment programme. As part of the Change Programme Agreement a new grading structure was agreed for the Production Department including the grades of TO 1 AND TO2. The Production Department is made up of the Processing and Packaging Departments. The dispute concerns workers in the Processing Department. The area is engaged in the intake of product and supplies and feeds the production lines.The agreement allows the Company to engage in the filling of any product and the Company requires the operatives in the process area to undergo training in the beer handling procedures in order to progress from TO1 to TO2 Grade.The Union claims that beer handling is not part of the claimants' duties and that and should not be a requirement for process workers to attain TO2 Grade. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held in December, 2002 following which the Senior Industrial Relations Officer made the following proposal:
".............that the Company upgrade to TO2 those TO1's who, with the exception of beer handling, had the necessary competencies/training for TO2 as of 1st September, 2002, providing they undergo and complete their beer handling training by end March, 2003. As a gesture towards resolving the matter, the Company should make these upgradings effective from 1st March, 2002.( Other employees to be upgraded to TO2 effective from when they are fully qualified including beer handling)........."
The proposal, recommended for acceptance by the parties, was rejected following a ballot of the workforce. On the 29th April, 2003 the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held in Clonmel on the 10th June, 2003.
3. 1. The Union disputes the Company's interpretation of the Change Programme Agreement relating to the beer handling issue. Every aspect of the process worker's job description was addressed in the agreement and process workers do not accept that beer handling is a requirement in their area. They should progress to TO2 status without training in beer handling.
2. Process workers feel that they are being pressurised to take on an additional duty not covered in their job description.
4. 1. The agreement clearly provided for the handling of any liquid, which obviously includes beer. It is a core competency to achieve both TO1 AND TO2 grade in Processing. At present beer handling is carried out by two operators from the bottling area because of the unwillingness of the process operators to undergo the prescribed training. This is in breach of the Change Programme Agreement relating to flexibility and interchangeability.
2. Operators in other areas of the Production Department engage in beer handling.
3. The Company has historically carried out contract filling. In the 1980's the Company bottled stout and the product was received in by the Processing . The Company has always had the intention of pursuing contract filling opportunities in future as outlined in Section 10 of the agreement.
4. The Company is operating in a very difficult trading environment. Contract filling is a very important source of revenue. The Company is currently in negotiations to secure a large beer contract which will help protect jobs at the plant. The Company needs its operators fully trained in beer handling and willing to cooperate fully with agreements.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties, finds the proposals made by the Senior Industrial Relations Officer dated 11th December, 2002, to be the appropriate basis for settling this dispute
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd June, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.