INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
FOYNES PORT STEVEDORES
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Implementation of Irish Productivity Centre Report on work practises at Foynes Port.
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between the Foynes Port Stevedores and SIPTU in relation to the findings and recommendations of a review undertaken by the Irish Productivity Centre on the work practises at Foynes.
Foynes port is the principal port in the South West for the discharge and loading of bulk cargo such as animal feeds, fertiliser, coal and clinker etc. The servicing of this trade is handled by a number of independent Stevedoring companies. There are six Stevedoring companies at Foynes; ITI Ltd, SJ Murphy Ltd, Mullock and Sons (Shipbrokers) Ltd, Argosea Services Ltd, Stafford Shipping Foynes and James Scott (Shannon) Ltd.
The Stevedore Companies position is that the port of Foynes has become increasingly uncompetitive as the current operating system and work practises do not meet the competitive needs of the port. To increase competitiveness and attract new business it is essential that the recommendations of the Irish Productivity Centre be implemented.
The Union feel that to implement the IPC Report would have a detrimental effect on the workforce at Foynes.
The issues in dispute are as follows:
(i) Manning Levels
(ii) Redundancy Levels and terms
(iii) Lead in payment
(iv) Basic Pay increases
(v) Retirement Benefits
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a number of conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 7th September 2004 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 10th November 2004.
4. 1.Manning Levels
The current manning levels are extremely high (10/11 per gang size). It is recommended in the IPC Report that these numbers be reduced to 5 workers per gang. This is a customer driven requirement and should be amended accordingly.
2.Redundancy Levels and Terms
The Stevedore companies are offering a redundancy package of 1½ annual salary based on average earnings over the three years 1999, 2000, 2001 plus statutory entitlement, subject to an overall cap of €65,000.
3.Lead in payment
An offer has been made of a lead in payment of €7000 paid in two phases (€5,500 gross on the introduction of the IPC report and a further €1,500 on 1st November 2004).
The offer was made despite concerns on the part of the Stevedore companies with the absorbing of the costs of the package.
4.Basic pay increases
The Stevedore companies reject any claim to increase the basic rate of pay outside of the terms of national wage agreements.
A package was offered whereby dockers aged 58 years of age on 1st April 2004 could defer retirement age to 67 years on a red circled basis.
3. 1.Manning Levels
It would be impossible for gang sizes to operate at a level suggested in the IPC Report. At present there are 10/11 members per gang and to reduce this to 5 would not be feasible. The implementation of this proposal would result in the loss of available working days to dockers. There is also no provision for additional gangs if necessary in the Foynes proposals which was provided for during the rationalisation of other ports.
2.Redundancy Levels and Terms
The Union could not accept the level of redundancies on offer as it is insufficient in terms of the operation of the port and is out of line with other ports. The Union are seeking 6 weeks pay per year of service plus statutory.
3.Lead in payment
The lead-in payment of €7000 is insufficient in meeting the expectations of the workers. The Union are seeking a lead-in payment of €12,000 per worker for the acceptance and implementation of the IPC Report.
4.Basic Pay Increases
The Union are seeking an increase in the hourly rate of pay from €14.15 to €16.00 per hour for the increase in productivity resulting from the implementation of the IPC Report.
The retirement provisions are inadequate given the age profile of the workforce. The Union are seeking that workers aged 57 be allowed defer retirement age to 68 years of age.
The issue before the Court concerns the implementation of an IPC report into manning level requirements and work practices at Foynes Port. As the issues have been through long and extensive negotiations without success, the Stevedores referred the issue to the Court.
The Union stated that there are a number of key issues that require solution in order that a final agreement can be reached. These are as follows:-
- Manning Levels
- Redundancy levels and terms
- Lead in payments
- Basic pay increases
- Retirement benefits
The IPC report recommended a reduction in gang size to 5 dockers. The Union would not accept a reduction below a gang size of 7.
Redundancy Levels and Terms
The Stevedores were prepared to offer 12 dockers redundancy on a voluntary basis from the list of 41 dockers. The Union sought 15 redundancies. The terms on offer are 1½ annual salary (based on average earnings over the three year period 1999, 2000 and 2001) plus statutory redundancy payment, subject to an overall cap of €65,000.
The Union sought 6 weeks pay per year of service (based on average earnings over the three year period 2001, 2002 and 2003), plus statutory redundancy payment with no cap.
Lead in Payments
The Stevedores offered a total of €7000 in two phases as a lead in payment in return for full co-operation with work practices required in the IPC Report. The Union sought
Basic Pay Increases
The Union sought an increase in hourly rate of pay from €14.15 to €16.00 for increased productivity resulting from implementation of the IPC Report. The Stevedores rejected this claim.
The Stevedores offered existing dockers aged 58 and over the option to defer retirement age to 67 and on a red circled basis. The Union sought retirement deferral of those dockers aged 57 or over until they reached 68 years of age.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court recommends that in return for implementation of the IPC Report and the conclusion of a procedural agreement, the Union should accept the following:-
1. Having considered the points raised by both sides, the Court notes that neither side can say with certainty how the reduction in manning levels will work out. Therefore, the Court recommends that the manning levels recommended in the IPC Report should be implemented without delay. These manning levels should be reviewed after a period of one year when the interests and concerns of both sides should be examined. In light of this review, the claim for an increase in pay due to increased productivity levels should also be examined.
2. The Court recommends that the offer of redundancy should be made to 15 dockers and the terms of the redundancy should be as follows:-
2 x annual salary (based on average earnings over the three year period 2001, 2002 and 2003), plus statutory redundancy payment with no cap.
3. The Court recommends that in return for full co-operation with manning levels and work practices required in the IPC Report a total of €9500 should be paid in
two phases (€5500 on acceptance of the IPC Report and €4000 four months after implementation of the Report.
4. The Court is of the view that the Stevedores offer to extend retirement for existing dockers aged 58 and over to 67 years of age on a red circled basis is a generous offer and therefore, recommends that it should be accepted.
The above-recommended items should be considered as a package and voted on accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th December, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.