INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
APPLE COMPUTER LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYER'S CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Non-payment of Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
2. The Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple Computer Incorporated of the United States. The Cork plant commenced operations in 1980. It currently employs one thousand three hundred staff.
In October, 2001, the parent Company decided to impose a world wide pay freeze in order to maintain competitiveness and to secure jobs for the future.
The Union's claim on behalf of its members is for payment of the outstanding terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness from the due dates.
Local discussions could not resolve the issue. The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement could not be reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 9th of September, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th of February, 2003, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. Since the workers concerned received their last wage increase in April, 2001 the overall cost of living has increased by approximately 10%.
2. Over the past number of years there has been ongoing restructuring within the Company. During those years the workers concerned have continued to give their full support and co-operation in an effort to make the plant more efficient and profitable.
3. The Company has a massive capital surplus and can afford to meet its obligations under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
4 1. It was necessary to impose a pay freeze in order to maintain competitiveness and secure jobs for the future.
2. In November, 2002 the Chief Executive of the Corporation confirmed that the pay freeze would continue and the situation would be reviewed in July, 2003.
3. The Company is committed to the National Wage Agreement process and when the pay freeze is lifted would intend to enter into negotiations with the Union to explore possible adjustments in a positive manner.
The Court has considered the arguments of both sides to this claim which falls within the terms of the PPF. The Labour Court has an adjudicative role to uphold the integrity of PPF as requested by the social partners, who are representative of both sides to this dispute.
The Court notes that domestically the Company has not argued that the economic, competitive or commercial circumstances of the Company prohibit payment of the increases due. On the other hand, the Union has argued that its members alone have embraced national wage agreement terms over many years, with the consent of the Company.
In all the circumstances of this case, the Court believes that terms of the PPF should be paid in full. The Court recommends that the parties should now meet to consider how this could be achieved.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th March, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.