INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Hearing arising from Recommendation No. LCR18287.
2. In July, 2005 a Labour Court hearing took place between the parties concerning the Company's ongoing change programme. This resulted in the issuing of LCR18287. In it's recommendation the Labour Court recommended:-
"..that the parties should, consistent with the change agreements, re-engage on the proposals and negotiate a resolution to the Company's problems."
"If the parties fail to agree on all aspects, they may come back to the Court for a further recommendation."
The issues could not be resolved at local level and were 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 17th October 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 17th October, 2005
3. 1.The Unions have sought that Branch Twinning (Phase 1) be considered in its own right as this is the matter that was before the Court in the first place. It is not fair that the Company are now seeking to discuss and negotiate on Branch Sales Restructuring (Phase 2) together with Phase 1. The two phases should be dealt with separately owing to their differing implications for the staffs concerned.
2.The Union is opposed to the diminution in salary levels proposed at Sales Executive and Senior Sales Executive level and its being replaced by a bonus.
4. 1. The Company has implemented LCR18287 and completed negotiations with three out of the five representative bodies.
2. The proposals brought forward for the branch network are of significant financial benefit to branch staff.
3. No staff member's terms and conditions of employment are negatively impacted by the Company's proposals.
4. The changes to branch structure are covered under the Change and Flexibility agreements in place which are already paid for.
The case before the Court is a follow up to Labour Court Recommendation 18287 concerning the Company’s proposal to change the management structure in its branches by twinning up to 40 branches out of a total of 100, whereby one manager will have responsibility for managing more than one branch.
In that case the Court recommended:-
- “Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court recommends that the parties should re-engage on the proposals and negotiate a resolution to the Company’s problems. Discussions should centre around the impact these proposals will have on the managers concerned and on the existing agreements. These negotiations should commence without delay and should be completed before the end of September 2005.
If the parties fail to agree on all aspects, they may come back to the Court.”
As no agreement was reached, the parties sought the assistance of the Court and a hearing was held on 17th October 2005.
Following the hearing on 17th October, having considered the positions of both sides, the Court decided to refer the parties back to the Labour Relations Commission to address certain issues before it would issue its recommendation. Having completed that process a number of “Areas of Agreement” were agreed and signed off by both sides with the Industrial Relations Officer. The Court hereby addresses the outstanding issues referred back to the Court.
Having considered the position of both sides, the Court takes the view that the totality of the changes proposed by the Company in relation to the “Branch Operating Model” were not fully envisaged by the Change Agreements previously entered into in 1999; those agreements were principally concerned with the harmonisation of terms and conditions of employment and the matter now before the Court cannot be identified with the principle of harmonisation. The Court is of the view that in making its proposals dated 27th September 2005, the Company recognised this situation.
However, having considered the submissions of both parties, the Court recommends that in addition to that offered by the Company, the proposals should now be amended by the following recommendations: -
1. A once off introductory payment to the value of one increment should be paid to all staff involved in the twinned branches, to allow for the bedding in of the new arrangements.
2. In relation to the sales target for Managers of twinned branches, the Court endorses the Company’s position that it should be based on the aggregate of the targets for twinned branches. However, the Court recommends that the impact of this aggregation should be examined in the promised review due to take place twelve months following implementation of the bonus scheme.
3. At the Court hearing, the Company’s proposed “to pay clerical/sales support staff a multiplier of the standard bonus at a rate of between 1.1% and 1.2% of the standard bonus for a limited period of 12 months”. The Court endorses this proposal and recommends that the multiplier should be set at 1.2% for the twelve-month period for this category of staff.
4. Due to the Company’s current requirement for transferability and flexibility within the roles of both sales support and the sales roles, the Court does not see merit in the Company’s proposals to introduce a lower maximum on the salary scale for new employees entering at Sales Executive and Senior Sales Executive level. However, the Court endorses the change of title envisaged to emphasis the job requirements of the new sales roles. In the event that this level of transferability and flexibility diminishes in the future, the matter of a new scale could be considered further.
5. The Court does not make any recommendation in respect of those branches, which will not be twinned.
The Court recommends that the Company’s proposals of 27th September 2005 should be amended by the Court’s recommendations and incorporate the “Areas of Agreement” referred to above. Furthermore, these should then be balloted on as a package with a view to (i) resolving all the issues in dispute and (ii) agreeing to implement the new proposed structure. On acceptance of those conditions, the lump sum payment should be paid with immediate effect.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th November, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.