INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
I P EUROPE LTD.
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Claim for a pay increase of 28% for all SIPTU members at the factory
2. The Company manufactures PVC shrink and silage wrap at it's factory in Gorey, Co. Wexford. The Australian owned company employs approximately a 100 people in its manufacturing operation. Two Unions, SIPTU and TEEU hold negotiating rights for the manufacturing and craft groups of workers employed by the company respectively. Poor industrial relations in recent years have hampered the development of constructive local negotiation, a partnership model and any form of financial involvement by the workforce. The Company has survived an outbreak of fire recently and several unofficial stoppages and a strike last March.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 17th July, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 5th June 2003, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3.1 The issue dates back to 2001 when members sought a number of improvements following on reduced crewing levels and introduction of reorganisation of production. Progress was made through the LRC. This involved, conducting a 'Gainsharing Exercise' which was to be concluded within six months. The Union claim that the Company dragged this out and did not honour this agreement.
2. In August 2003 a further LRC conference took place. The Company withdrew from any involvement in Gainsharing but suggested 'Profit Sharing' at a time when the Company claim they were making no profit.
3. The Union estimated the level of reduced staffing legitimises a 28%p pay increase.
4.1 Arising out of the LRC Agreement of February 2001 a number of costly concessions were made by the Company. Among these were an increase in the shift premium. The Company also brought forward the terms of the Progress for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) by 15 months.
2. There was a commitment by the parties to engage in a 'Gainsharing Exercise' with the assistance of technical experts if necessary. The exercise will aim to be concluded in six months from now and the parties will enter it without prejudice to either of their positions.
3. Due to the nature of the business, the Company's financial position at the time and since, neither Gainsharing nor Profitsharing were viable options for the Company. The Company continues to be loss making and a loss is projected for 2003. The Company is striving to remain a viable operation in Ireland and further concessions would put the future of the Company in grave jeopardy
4. Both pay and conditions of operators in the Company compare very favourable with other companies in the Plastic and Rubber Product Manufacturing Sector. Average earnings in the Company are far in excess of the average in the sector which is €24,400
5. The Company has honoured its commitments under the National Wage Agreements.
The Court is satisfied that the commitment to undertake a feasibility study for the purpose of identifying the potential of a gainsharing arrangement has not been fully implemented.
The Court recommends that this exercise should be undertaken without delay and that it be brought to finality by way of a report on the potential, if any, for such arrangements. The parties should agree the mechanism by which this study is to be undertaken.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th June, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.