INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
QUANTUM PERSONAL CARE LTD
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Refusal to pay terms of Sustaining Progress.
2. The Company is a toothpaste manufacturer operating in Bray, Co Wicklow. It employs 37 people. The Company has operated a system of pay determination whereby pay is determined by annual review with its staff in November of each year. A pay freeze has been in place since November 2002 due to the Company's poor trading position.
The workforce was recently unionised. The Union is seeking on behalf of its 13 general operative members payment of the increases due under Sustaining Progress.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement could not be reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 11th August, 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th October, 2004.
3. 1.The Company imposed the pay freeze unilaterally in 2003 and without staff agreement.
2.The Union membership are pursuing this claim in order not to be disadvantaged in respect of wage movements.
3. It is now two years since the Union members have received a pay increase.
4. 1.The Company has its own pay determination system based on company budget and individual pay reviews. Its awards are not out of line with those nationally agreed.
2. Given the Company's difficult trading position in 2003 it had no option but to implement a pay freeze.
3. The Company offered a pay increase of 4.5% in October 2004 and this has been accepted by the majority of its workforce.
"Sustaining Progress" is a National Social Partnership Agreement fully entered into by ICTU and IBEC on behalf of their constituents. Clause 1.4 of the key principles underpinning the Agreement on pay in the private sector states:-
"The parties are agreed on the importance of confidence in regard to wage developments. Specifically, employers expect Unions to adhere to the terms agreed and Unions expect the terms agreed to be applied to their members".
The Court fully concurs with this.
The Company has, at conciliation, pleaded inability to pay the terms of Sustaining Progress. Based on the figures and on developments subsequent to conciliation, the Court is not convinced of the absolute validity of this position.
Accordingly, and, taking the above points into account, the Court recommends as follows:
i. The increase of 4.5% already offered by the Company since the conciliation conference should be effective from 1st July 2004 for 12 months.
ii. The final phase of the second part of Sustaining Progress (2.5%) should apply with effect from 1st July 2005 for the 6-month period stated in the Agreement. "Sustaining Progress"should expire in this Company on 31st December 2005.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
1st November, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.