INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
THE GLASS CENTRE LIMITED
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioners Recommendation R-031530-Ir-04/GF.
2. The worker has been employed as a general operative at the Glass Centre for 14 years. The Union's case is that the worker was told by his employer in 1997 that he would be paid at Grade 3 of the Construction Operative's rate for the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). He was also to be paid the Indoor Attendance Allowance.
The worker did not re-examine his rate of pay until early 2004. Having done so, he believed that, while the Attendance Allowance rate was correct, his hourly rate had slipped behind the CIF rate. The Union contacted the employer but his position was that the CIF rate did not apply to the worker. The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner and his recommendation was as follows:-
"I accept the employer's position regarding the payment of National Agreements. However, from time to time these pay rates change due to trade union/employer negotiations. I believe that is what occurred in this case. I recommend the claimant pay-rate be improved in line with the employer/trade union rate from January 1st 2005. I make no recommendation regarding retrospection outside this recommendation."
The Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 13th of June, 2005, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. (The Union accepted the pay rate in the recommendation but is seeking retrospective payment to July, 2004.) A Labour Court hearing took place on the 21st of September, 2005, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Union accepted that the claimant's employment was not covered by the CIF's nationally agreed rates for Master Glaziers Association; however, it maintained that the employer, in 1997, had advised the worker that he would be paid the Grade 3 Construction Operative rate.
2. The employer did offer to pay the worker €14 per hour from the 1st of January, 2005, and €14.21 from April, 2005. This was unacceptable as the correct rates should have been €14.25 and €14.46 respectively.
4. 1. The worker is not entitled to the Construction Industry rate of pay as he has never worked on any building sites, despite what the Union claims. The Grade 3 rate does not apply to anyone working in the factory, which is where the worker is employed.
2. The Company has applied the National Agreement increases to the worker's rate of pay. The employer did offer to increase his rate of pay (in a letter to the Rights Commissioner) but this was not acceptable to the Union. Concession of the Union's claim would lead to knock-on claims and serious financial problems for the Company.
The Union appealed the Rights Commissioner's recommendation on the basis that it did not recommend retrospection before 1st January 2005. The Union sought retrospection back to 1st July 2004.
In outlining to the Court the difficulties facing the Company at the moment, the employer gave details of the competitive pressures facing it and the vulnerability of the business in the present climate and stated that concession of the claim could have catastrophic consequences for the business.
The Rights Commissioner recommended that the claimant's pay-rate be improved in line with the employer/trade union rate from 1st January, 2005, and made no recommendation regarding retrospection. The Court notes that the Rights Commissioner made no reference to future increases.
Having considered the submissions of the parties, the Court recommends that the claimant's pay-rate be improved to €14.25 per hour with effect from 1st January, 2005. Taking account of the employer's arguments made at the hearing, the Court does not recommend retrospection prior to the 1st of January, 2005, but does recommend that the parties should discuss the future position going forward.
The Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner is, therefore, upheld and applied accordingly.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th September, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.