INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CADBURY (IRELAND) LIMITED
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. House Agreement 2003.
2. The dispute concerns the House Agreement for 2003 in respect of production workers. Over many years it has been the practice in the Company to conclude House Agreements to run parallel to National Agreements.The House Agreement covers ongoing change, productivity, flexibilities, improved efficiencies and provides financial rewards for production workers, for their cooperation, over and above the terms of the National Programmes. The Unions submitted their claims in January, 2003 for an agreement that provides the following:
A 9%increase in pay
Increase in plus payment
Extra day's annual leave
Improved bereavement leave for brother-in-law/ sister-in-law
Increase in bonus payment
Increase in good attendance payment.
The Company rejected the claims. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held but agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court in September, 2003 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 5th November, 2003.
3. 1.Pay. The Unions' claim for a 9% increase in pay represents a 2% increase in the Company's offer. It is not unreasonable given the precedents established over many years.
2.Plus payment.This payment was introduced as part of Vision 2000 (LCR 16124 refers). While it is indexed linked to pay increases, the Unions believe it should be substantially increased to reflect the benefits which have accrued to the Company through recent efficiencies and job reductions which have led to significant cost savings.
3.Extra day's leave.The last increase in annual leave applied in the Company in 1986, bringing the total of such leave to 20 days. At that time statutory leave was 15 days. It is now 20 days. Therefore, production workers enjoyed entitlements in excess of normal leave entitlements. The Unions are seeking 21 days annual leave. This is not excessive by National or European standards.
4. The claims for improvement in bereavement leave, increase in good attendance pay, an increase in bonus payment are sought following a general meeting of the workforce. They are legitimate components of the House Agreement and should be positively addressed by Management.
4. 1. The Company accepts that, in the past, improvements have been made on agreed National Programmes and in the last agreement increases amounted to ½% over the 33 months of the agreement. Those improvements have always been made against a background of what the Company could afford.
2. The Company is facing significant trading and operational difficulties in the market place. Production costs at the Dublin plant are significantly higher than other plants in the group. It is suffering from low efficiency and high levels of absenteeism. There are also difficulties with exchange rates and market share problems.
3. The Company cannot concede the Unions' claim on the basis that its current performance and financial position does not allow for the payment of any increases over and above those agreed nationally. The Company is prepared to implement fully the pay increases due under the Sustaining Progress Agreement.
The Court notes that there is a history in the employment of concluding house agreements providing enhanced pay increases or other conditions in excess of national agreements. However, in the present circumstances of the employment the Court believes that the Company's position in refusing to concede terms in excess of the Sustaining Progress Agreement is reasonable.
The Court recommends that the Unions should accept the Company's offer to implement Sustaining Progress as negotiated and that the position regarding a house agreement be reviewed in conjunction with the implementation of any replacement national agreement, having regard to the circumstances prevailing at that time.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th November, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.