INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
S2(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2001,
AS AMENDED BY THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS(MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACT, 2004
(REPRESENTED BY JOHN HORGAN)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Hearing arising from DECP052
2. DECP052 issued on the 3rd of March, 2005. In it, the Court dealt with the preliminary issue of whether the conditions laid down in Section 2(1) of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act, 2001, as amended by the Industrial Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004, (the Act) had been fulfilled. The Court found that the conditions were fulfilled, and it has investigated the substantive case in the present hearing.
The Union referred the following issues to the Court :pay rates, service pay, shift pay, overtime rates, 39 - hour week, grievance and disciplinary procedure, tax liability, sick pay, annual increase in pay, bonus scheme, health and safety, and Deduction at Source (DAS).Briefly, the situation and the parties' views are as follows:-
Pay Rates:The Union claims that the basic rates of pay are lower in the Company than in Irish Cement where collective bargaining applies. The Company believes that pay rates are very competitive and at least as good as Irish Cement.
Service:The Union is seeking the introduction of service pay.
Shift Pay:Standard shift pay in the Company is 25%. The Union is seeking 33% for a 12-hour, 4-shift, 7-day operation.
Overtime rates:The Union has a two part claim. Firstly, that the Company only pays time plus one quarter and time plus one half whereas the norm is time plus one half plus double time. Secondly, shift operators receive time plus one half but do not receive shift premium for additional hours worked over and above the 42-hour week.
39-hour week:The Union is seeking a 39-hour week without loss of pay for both day and shift workers. The Company has indicated that it is thinking of introducing a 39-hour week.
Grievance and disciplinary procedure:The Union is seeking the introduction of such a procedure which will allow for the presence of a SIPTU representative. The Company has indicated that the present policy is under review.
Tax liability:The Union wants the current arrangements to continue. The Company has stated that it will continue to assist employees on a one to one basis sympathetically.
Sick pay:The Union is seeking a sick pay scheme which provides for payment of 15 weeks' full pay and 15 weeks' half pay less social welfare entitlements. The Company currently pays full pay indefinitely to employees who are unable to attend work due to a sustained injury at work. It is considering introducing a sick pay scheme.
Annual increase in pay:The Union is seeking payments due under Sustaining Progress and any future National Agreements. The Company states that recent increases have exceeded the national norms when account is taken of the increase in bonus earnings.
Bonus scheme:The Union has requested that any alterations to the scheme be undertaken in accordance with best industrial relations practice.
Deduction at source:The Union is seeking deduction at source. As the Company will not grant representation rights to SIPTU it does not think it appropriate to collect Union subscriptions from its employees.
Health and Safety:The Company has a full-time health and safety officer and will appoint a representative on behalf of the employees in the near future.
A Labour Court hearing took place on the 15th of March, 2005. The following is the Court's recommendation:
The Court is satisfied that the conditions specified in Section 2(1)(a) to 2(1)(d) of the Act were fulfilled and that the dispute was properly before the Court for investigation and recommendation.
The Court has taken account of the oral and written submissions made by the parties. Subject to the restriction that any recommendation made by the Court shall not provide for arrangements for collective bargaining (Section 2(2), the Court is required to examine and, where appropriate, recommend what, if any, action should be taken, having regard to the terms and conditions of employment which operate in the employment.
In response to the Union's claim, the Company contends that the conditions of employment which it provides for this group of workers, when viewed in their totality are not out of line with appropriate standards (Section 5(2) of the Act), and that, therefore, the intervention of the Court under Section 2(1) of the Act is not warranted.
In support of this argument, the Company pointed out that between June 2002, and June 2004, average industrial earnings increased by 11.9% whereas in Quinn Cement, for the same period, average earnings for production operatives increased by 14.9%. As the employees here concerned earn an average of €40,000 p.a., the Company notes the point made by this Court inBank of Ireland v IBOA(LCR 17745, dated 28th January, 2004) where it avers that the use of the arbitration powers of the Act, having regard to the voluntary nature of the Irish Industrial Relations system, is "only appropriate where it is necessary in order to provide protection to workers whose terms and conditions of employment, when viewed in their totality, are significantly out of line with appropriate standards."
In support of its claims, the Union alleges that matters such as the basic pay rate, shift rate, overtime rates, service pay, grievance and disciplinary procedures, length of working week, sick pay, bonus and health and safety matters are all out of line to a greater or lesser degree.
The Court, having considered all matters and noting in particular:-
(a) the stated intention of the Company to move to a 39-hour week,
(b) the proposed review of the Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure and noting the fact that any complaint alleging an infringement of the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures (S.I. 146 of 2000) can be addressed pursuant to Section 43(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990, and the willingness of the Company to use the machinery of the State in appropriate cases, and
(c) the Company's intention to introduce a Sick Pay scheme,
does not consider that there is a basis for the argument that the terms and conditions of employment of those associated with the present claim, when viewed in their totality, are out of line with acceptable standards.
Consequently, the Court does not consider it appropriate to issue substantive recommendations under Section 5(1) of the Act on the claims under investigation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31st March, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.