INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
GREAT SOUTHERN HOTEL KILLARNEY
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Pay claim.
2. In 2001/2002, national discussions took place on the new Partnership agreement which streamlined all rates of pay across all Great Southern Hotels. Maintenance staff were not included in this agreement. The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of four of its members employed in the maintenance department in the Great Southern Hotel, Killarney, for a pay increase in the form of pay parity with Local Authority rates at the top of the Craftman's rate of pay. This rate is inclusive of the first phase of the Craft Analogue Agreement.
- The Company rejects the claim on the basis that maintenance staff functions are not a core hotel function and there was never a common rate for maintenance personnel across the group as needs vary from hotel to hotel.
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 was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 6th May, 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 13th July, 2004, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1.The intention of the 2001/2002 Partnership Agreement was to have one common rate of pay across all hotels, but no consideration was given to the rates of pay for the Maintenance grades.
2.Private pay arrangements have been entered into between Management and individuals within the maintenance departments whereby one member of staff is in receipt of more than the others. This has resulted in tension within a small close-knit group of workers.
3.It is widely accepted that the rate of pay for craftsmen and the gardener is extremely low. Pay parity with the Local Authorities is sought whereby proper recognition of the skills of the maintenance department in the Killarney Hotel would be given.
4. 1.The claim is cost increasing and in breach of the National Wage Agreement. The claim for parity with local authority rates would mean a substantial increase in basic pay and no group within that structure has been identified as the appropriate comparator.
2.A productivity mechanism is not an option as it is untenable and not required. The GSH in Killarney underwent a major refurbishment programme in 2001/2002 and as a result the maintenance requirements have diminished significantly. A reduction in headcount was needed and not an increase in workload.
3.References to rates of pay for maintenance elsewhere within the hotel group are not a realistic comparator due to different needs, skills and duties in each hotel.
The Court has considered the submissions of the parties and has also taken account of the documents submitted by the parties after the hearing.
It appears to the Court that the maintenance department was never covered by the process undertaken by IPC leading to the conclusion of the agreement giving rise to this dispute. In these circumstances the Court does not recommend concession of the Union's claim.
The Court does, however, believe that there are anomalies in the rates paid to maintenance workers. The Court recommends that the parties have further discussions with a view to identifying a mutually acceptable basis upon which these anomalies may be addressed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
15th November, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.