INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
INTERNATIONAL PAPER LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Implementation of hygiene code of practice.
2. The Company produces corrugated packaging for the food, healthcare, IT and general industrial sector. It expects food to account for 75% of its business within 5 years. The Company claims that overall volume declines and increased competition from offshore producers have impacted significantly on business. It wishes to implement a Hygiene Code of Practice (details supplied to the Court) in order to work towards the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Hygiene Standard, and it entered into discussions with the Union in late 2003 in this regard. The Union's response was that it would need some form of payment for the introduction of the BRC Code of Practice. The Company maintains that the change it is seeking is part of normal ongoing change and is covered under Clause 1.3 of Sustaining Progress (S.P.) The Union claims that the dispute falls under "cost offsetting measures" Clause 1.10 of S.P.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on 15th April, 2004 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 3rd of June, 2004.
3. 1 The Company did not engage in a meaningful way with the Union on the changes sought.
2. It is custom and practice that the Company always gives over and above the terms of National Agreements when it is seeking change. The change being sought is not minor.
3. The introduction of the BRC accreditation could lead to members being disciplined if in breach of the code.
4. 1 The introduction of the BRC Hygiene Standard is vital to the Company's ability to remain competitive.
2. Full consultation has been undertaken with the Union in regard to the changes sought.
3. The Hygiene Code, while requiring a high standard be achieved, does not necessitate any significant changes to normal work practices at the plant. The Union has not provided any arguments that the changes required are excessive.
Having considered the submissions of the parties, the Court is satisfied that the proposed BRC Hygiene Code of Practice constitutes normal on-going change within the meaning of Clause 1.3 of the Pay Agreement associated with Sustaining Progress. Accordingly, the Court recommends that the Union cooperates with its introduction.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd June, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.