INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
DOYLE CONCRETE LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Redundancy Terms and Selection Process 2. Introduction of lower rates of Pay 3. Employment of non-national labour at lower rates of pay and less favourable conditions.
2. Doyle Concrete Limited is located in Rathangan, Co Kildare, and has approximately twenty three employees. The Company has been operating since 1969 and is involved in the manufacture of pre-cast concrete products for building merchants and passing trade.
The case before the Court concerns a dispute between the Company and the Union in relation to the appropriate terms and selection process of redundancies, the employment of non-nationals at lower rates of pay and less favourable conditions and a reduction in the starting rate of pay.
The Union is claiming that the selection process for the redundancies is unfair and is seeking five weeks pay per year of service plus statutory entitlement for two of its members and re-instatement for the third while the dispute goes through procedures. It also strongly opposes the redundancy selection process in the Company and the fact that non-national labour is paid for at a lower rate of pay and less favourable conditions than applies to other workers. The Union is also opposed to a reduction in the starting rate of pay for new employees of the Company.
The Company rejects the claim on the basis that the redundancies and the introduction of lower rates of pay were part of a restructuring process to ensure the continued viability of the Company in difficult trading circumstances. On the 21st October, 2005 the Union referred a complaint to the Labour Court under Section 20 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. A Court hearing was held on the 2nd November, 2005.
3 1. It is unacceptable that the Company introduce redundancies and lower rates of pay for workers without negotiating with the Union. The Claim submitted by the Union is fair and reasonable in the circumstances and in line with industry norms.
2. The Union cannot accept a situation where terms and conditions of employment are reduced and non-nationals are employed on less favourable terms. The employment of low cost labour to replace staff being made redundant is extremely unfair and inappropriate.
4. 1. The redundancies and wage re-structuring were introduced to improve the viability of the Company.
2. The Company recruited new staff in line with the correct protocol. There were no Irish applicants for the positions being offered. It is incorrect to say that non-nationals were employed by the Company with less favourable terms and conditions.
The Court has considered the submissions of the parties to this dispute and recommends as follows:
Those being made redundant should receive a lump-sum equal to five weeks pay per year of service, inclusive of statutory terms.
It is not unreasonable for the Union to request that the criteria for the selection of employees being made redundant be negotiated and agreed. The Court recommends that the parties now engage in a process of negotiation over a period not exceeding one month with a view to reaching agreement on this matter. Should they fail to agree the Court will issue a definitive recommendation if requested to do so by either party. In the meantime those employees who have been dismissed and who are available for work should be reinstated.
It is the Court’s view that the company acted unreasonably in reducing established rates of pay for new entrants. If a problem exists with respect to existing rates the requirements of good industrial relations dictate that the company should first seek to convince the Union of its case and if necessary process the matter through normal industrial relations machinery. The Court recommends that the established rates be restored and that the parties enter into negotiations on a possible realignment. Such discussions should take place within one month of the date of acceptance of this recommendation.
Resumption of Normal Working.
On acceptance of this recommendation there should be a full resumption of work.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd November 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.