INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
C.P.M. EUROPE LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Payment of Sustaining Progress and change agenda.
2. The Company is situated in Wexford and manufactures dies that are used in the production of pellet feed for animals. The dispute concerns the implementation of Sustaining Progress increases due to 22 workers. The issues in dispute date back to 2000/2001. The Company offered to pay the final 4% of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness on the 27th of September, 2002, backdated to June, 2002, in return for 6-day running and unmanned operation of the machines. The Company also offered to pay IXION machine operators a further 4% to ensure the continuity of production. However, agreement could not be reached with the Union. A number of further meetings at local level and at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) took place but still agreement could not be reached on the amount due or the changes needed.
Following a further conciliation conference, the Industrial Relations Officer issued a proposal dated the 12th of December, 2003, (details supplied to the Court). The proposals were rejected by the Union and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 9th of January, 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 25th of February, 2004, in Wexford.
3. 1. The workers are due 3% from the 1st of March, 2003 and 2% from the 1st of December, 2003, under the terms of Sustaining Progress. They have increased productivity and co-operated with ongoing change.
2. The Company has repeatedly tried to force operators into accepting proposals formulated for gainsharing by withholding increases due under the National Agreements. This has resulted in very poor industrial relations in the Company.
4. 1.The Company is, and has been, willing to pay the terms of Sustaining Progress as long as there is a reasonable degree of co-operation with normal and on-going change. The current attitude/behaviour of the workers is not in keeping with the Sustaining Progress agreement.
2. Some of the inefficient work practices include operators watching machines work with little or no intervention. These operators refuse to take on additional tasks.
The claim before the Court is for the payment of increases in pay due under Sustaining Progress and issues concerning changes in work practices sought by the Company. Both parties accept that the Court is dealing with these claims as a package.
A number of issues surrounding the Company's change agenda have been the subject of protracted negotiations over a number of years. These negotiations have proved very difficult for all those involved in trying to bring about a resolution to the problem.
This situation creates difficulty for the Court in trying to bring about a resolution to the dispute as the issues have not been clearly articulated. The Union's perspective seems to have changed on a number of occasions and at the hearing it was clear that issues have still not been crystallised.
Due to this lack of clarity, coupled with the need to carry out an assessment of the manning of machines/furnaces, the Court recommends that the proposals of the Senior Industrial Relations Officer of the LRC, dated 12th December, 2003, should be accepted by both parties with the following proviso:
The reference to the binding basis of the third party arbitration should be deleted, and substituted with the following:-
- A mutually agreed third party, with the necessary expertise, will be engaged to arbitrate on the issues (as specified in the 12th December, 2003 proposals). This exercise should be completed by the end of April, 2004, and any outstanding issues may be referred back to the Court for a definitive recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
8th March, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.