INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
KILSARAN CONCRETE LIMITED
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Sick pay scheme -modifications.
2. The case before the Court concerns staff at Kilsaran Concrete Ltd. and the implementation of a sick pay scheme which was agreed between the parties. The issue in dispute is the Company's interpretation as to what had been agreed.
The Union's claim is that the scheme agreed was the exact scheme which was operated in a comparable Company within the industry, but at the time of implementation it became clear that there were differences in the two schemes which would greatly affect the benefits received by the workers should they make a claim.
The Company rejects the claim on the basis that the scheme is a replica of the scheme in operation at the comparable Company.
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 25th June 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 19th October, 2004, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The scheme that was agreed was to be a replica of a scheme operating in a comparable Company within the sector. This had supposedly been agreed by the parties but contrary proposals were put forward by the Company. The "benefit" payable under the Company's proposals would not be tax effective, as was the case in the comparable scheme. This would mean that workers claiming sick pay would be taxed on their benefit which did not form part of the Agreement.
2. Workers claiming sick pay should be paid their full net pay and submit any Social Welfare entitlements to the Company.
4. 1. The Company operate in a very competitive market and must exercise effective cost management to remain viable. The added cost of the Union's proposal would be unsustainable and could not be implemented.
2. It would be administratively impossible to operate a system where workers claiming sick pay would receive the full net pay and would then submit their Social Welfare payments to the Company.
3. The most effective way to secure net pay would be to combine Social Welfare payments, the CIF Scheme and the benefit payable by the Company.
The interpretation of the 30th May 2001 agreement to implement a sick pay scheme similar to that which applies in Readymix has given rise to this dispute between the parties.
The Court notes that in accordance with the company’s proposal of 2nd October 2001 the company are willing to ensure that the quantum of benefits paid as part of the sick pay scheme will equal the worker’s normal net pay while they are in receipt of such benefit.
The Union expressed concern that the benefits could fluctuate up and down and will not be reflective of net pay.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court interpret the May 2001 agreement as follows:
Years ServicePeriod of Benefit
1 – 5 years 6 weeks *full net pay less social welfare benefit + 6 weeks half net pay
6 – 10 years 9 weeks *full net pay less social welfare benefit + 9 weeks half net pay
11 –15 years 12 weeks *full net pay less social welfare benefit + 12 weeks half net pay
16 + years 15 weeks *full net pay less social welfare benefit + 15 weeks half net pay
*‘Full net pay’ should be made up of social welfare disability benefit, plusall the elements referred to at the hearing, i.e. company sick pay benefit and CIF sick pay benefit where appropriate - the amount of which must ensure that the combination of all three elements yields the equivalent of normal net pay.
The entitlement to full net pay benefit should apply to all employees covered by the agreement irrespective of whether they are members of the CIF Pensions and Sick Pay scheme.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th November, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.