INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
FRUIT OF THE LOOM
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Compensation for increased workload.
2. As part of the Company’s rationalization programme, manufacturing operations have been consolidated to one site. Where previously there was two dye houses, there is now just one. Different manning levels applied to the machines in both dye houses, the physical work conditions are slightly different. With all dyeing now done at the one location, the Company want to apply the manning levels which had applied at the new location to the existing staff there since 1994. The Union are seeking compensation, and are requesting a share of the savings due to the efficient operation for all dye workers. By way of compensation the Union are willing to negotiate on the method, either by a straight foreword increase in weekly pay or by the payment of a once-off lump sum. The Company rejected the Union’s claim on the basis that the more efficient working operation has been ongoing for years by one section of staff and that efficiencies are essential for survival.
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 20th October, 2003 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 16th September, 2004.
3.1 Workers have through an increased or additional workload provided substantial benefits and savings to the Company and they are entitled to be compensated for their contribution in this regard.
2. The Union rejects the Company’s suggestion that this claim is in breach of Sustaining Progress (SP) or its predecessor Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF). This is not a “cost increasing” claim, but a share of savings/benefits generated by additional or increased work by workers.
4.1 The Company has acknowledged all national agreements on the understanding that the working and spirit of the agreement are applied. Pay for workers has increased by 64% between 1991-2004
2. Increased productivity in the Company that has occurred has been achieved by capital expenditure, and training structures
3. The Company has seen dramatic reductions in its work force from 3,000 in 1996 to current levels 550. The Company operates in the textile and clothing sector that has experienced dramatic downturns in the past eight years.
4. The Company must pursue every opportunity that exists for continuous improvements.
The Union's claim arose as a result of the consolidation of the Company's operations at the Ballymacarry plant in December, 2003, which resulted in the closure of the Shore Road plant.
The Union sought compensation for some of the dyehouse operators involved due to the additional/increased workload. It sought a contribution of the benefits/savings to the Company, which it estimated would result from the consolidation.
The Company stated to the Court that the consolidation at Ballymacarry was carried out in order to remain viable and for health and safety reasons.
Having considered the oral and written submissions of the parties, the Court accepts that the consolidation of the plants was driven by the Company's need to survive in Donegal and when account is taken of the fact that the conditions worked at the Ballymacarry plant, have been in operation for many years, it does not warrant concession of the Union's claim.
The Court recommends accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.