INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
TEMPLECRONE CO-OPERATIVE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY LTD
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Pay rates for drivers.
2. Templecrone Co-operative Agricultural Society Ltd. was set up approximately 100 years ago. The Company's current business includes retail grocery, clothing and builders providers. It employs approximately 97 staff, most of whom are represented by the SIPTU Union.
The Company is up to date with all pay increases due under Sustaining Progress. Historically the Company has applied the Retail Grocery and Allied Trades Joint Labour Committee (JLC) rates to all departments in the Company. In March 2003 the Company applied the JLC rates of pay and backdated them to the implementation date of December 2002. A number of staff did not receive increases at that time as their rate of pay equalled the JLC rate or exceeded it. Among these were 6 drivers who then sought a further 4% increase above the terms of the national pay agreement in order to protect a differential which they believed had been eroded.
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 13th August, 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 29th October, 2004.
3. 1. The non-payment of the increase to the drivers has eroded the differential that they previously enjoyed to reflect their additional responsibilities and skills.
2. The drivers are entitled to benefit from pay increases on the same basis as other employees and there is no justifiable reason to treat them differently or less favourably in this respect.
4. 1. Historically the Company has implemented the Retail Grocery Trades JLC minimum rates across the board to all departments.
2. In March, 2003 fifty-one staff in the Company did not receive these increases as their rates of pay equalled or exceed the JLC minimum rates of pay.
3. The Company has fulfilled all its obligations under the National Agreements and is under no obligation to maintain differentials among a group of workers.
The Court is of the view that the application of an increase in the National Minimum Wage cannot, in itself, give rise to a claim on behalf of workers already paid in excess of that rate.
However, in this case there are exceptional circumstances arising from the low level of differential between the general pay scale and the rate applicable to drivers. It is the Court's view that the difference in rates between both groups has been eroded to the point where an adjustment in line with Union claims is justified. In reaching this conclusion the Court is heavily influenced by the assurance given by the Union that no similar claims will be served by or on behalf of any other group of employees.
In the circumstances and on the strict understanding that there will be no repercussive claims and that this recommendation will not be used or quoted as a precedent in the future, the Court recommends that the Union's claim be conceded.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
15th November, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.