INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
C & D FOODS
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
2. The dispute concerns 16 workers who are employed by the Company as Quality Controllers. They are on Grade A. The Union claims that, on the basis of a substantial increase in their duties and responsibilities, they should be upgraded to Grade A1. Management rejected the claim. 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 on the 7th July, 2003 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held in Mullingar on the 15th June, 2004.
3. 1. The claimants are entitled to Grade A 1. This rate is paid to a number of Operators for whose production the claimants have the responsibility of checking. This implies a greater responsibility for Quality Controllers.
2. In 2001 the Company introduced a new Quality Control Structure which means that Quality Controllers in the cannery had to be cross trained to cover tea breaks and extend their activities.
3. The Company has in the past recognised the experience and knowledge of the Quality Controllers in that 3 Supervisors were promoted from their grade.
4. In recent times five Quality Controllers resigned from the Company to take up employment as operatives with other employments where they receive more pay.
5. It is normal practice in industry that Quality Controllers would have higher pay than Operators whose work they control for quality.
4. 1.The claim is cost increasing and precluded under the Sustaining Progress Agreement.
2. The positions were the subject of a job evaluation in 1999. The results showed that the jobs were in line with the company pay structure. There has been no substantial change in the claimants' jobs since.
3. In 2000, following discussions with the Union, the Company offered a 1% increase to all grades in recognition of workers past and future cooperation and in full and final settlement of all outstanding issues on pay or job evaluation.
4. The Company has increased manning levels by 2 at the Union's request in 2001. There has been a diminution in the level of output since the job evaluation in 1999. There were six workers in Quality Control in 1999. There are now ten full- time and three part-time workers.
As a result of a job evaluation carried out by SIPTU by agreement with the Company in 1999, a new job grading structure was introduced. In addition a further 1% increase was subsequently agreed to be applied to all job categories in full and final settlement of grading issues in September, 2000.
Subsequently a claim arose over the numbers of QC staff which the Company dealt with by appointing additional personnel to this function, however, the appropriate grading of the QC staff has persisted as a trade union issue.
The Court does not believe there is a valid basis for this claim based on the written and oral submissions received, however, the Court notes the absence of an Appeals Procedure and recommends that the parties address this by modifying the job evaluation structure accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th June, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.