INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
OMEGA TEKNIKA LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Craft agreement.
2. On the 5th of October, 2000, a productivity agreement was reached between the parties in relation to craft workers. The agreement included cross skilling, flexibility and the elimination of demarcation, and the Company had committed to appointing a senior craftsperson. Some time after the agreement, the number of craft workers reduced from four to three when the electrician received a redundancy settlement. He was not replaced. As a result of this, and the Company's failure to appoint a senior craftsperson, the matter was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference took place in June, 2004. On the 4th of October, 2004, the parties met and it appeared that agreement had been reached on the issues, and an agreement document issued on the 5th of October, 2004. A letter from the Union on the following day referred to the number of craftsperson being restored to four, as per the 2000 agreement. However, this was not the Company's view. The Company intended recruiting an additional craftsperson but it was due to business requirements and not because of the 2000 agreement. There was also disagreement about the qualifications of the person to be recruited - the Union wanted the person to have core electrical qualifications, whereas the Company saw an NCVA qualification as sufficient.
As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 13th of October, 2004.
3. 1. Section 2 of the 2000 agreement provided for the number of craftspersons to be four, and Section 6 provided for the appointment of a senior craftsperson. Neither of these provisions apply at the moment.
2. The person to be appointed should have a core electrical qualification. The NCVA qualification proposed by the Company is the minimum requirement.
4. 1. The number of craftspersons was not "set in stone" at four in the 2000 agreement. The nature of the business has changed over the years and the cross skilling productivity was entered into for this reason.
2. The Company must appoint the most appropriate person when it recruits an additional craftsperson. It is likely that the successful candidate will have a background in electrical work.
The Court has considered the submissions of the parties in this case and has reviewed the correspondence and other documentation provided.
Whilst the negotiations conducted on 4th October, 2004 appeared to result in agreement on the matters now before the Court, subsequent correspondence suggests that no concluded agreement was in fact reached. Nonetheless, the Court considers the position put forward by the Company in the document headed "Agreement Document" dated 5/10/2004, is reasonable and consistent with the spirit of the agreement reached at conciliation on 2nd and 5th October, 2000. The Court recommends that this proposal be accepted.
With regard to the Union's contention that the complement of craft workers should be fixed at four, the Court cannot accept that the 2000 agreement can be interpreted as having made such a provision.
The Court recommends accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27th October, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.