INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Redundancy terms and compensation for change.
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between the Company and the Union in relation to proposed redundancy terms and changes in work practices at the Company's plant in Cappoquin, Co Waterford. There are a number of issues in dispute between the parties although some issues are either resolved or are in the process of being discussed with a view to their resolution.
The unresolved issues before the Court concerns, (a) Early Start Payment, (b) Buy Out of Contract / Piece Rates / Bonus and (c) Redundancy Terms. Insofar as early starts are concerned, the practice has been that €50 per week was paid to certain workers involved in early starts. The Union was willing to have this amount reduced to €35 per week with a compensatory buy-out payment of €1,000. The Company offered €35 with no buy out.
As regards the Buy Out Contract / Piece Rates / Bonus the Company had offered €25,000, pro rata where appropriate, whereas the Union sought three times the loss based on P60 earnings. In terms of the redundancies, the Union was seeking 5 weeks pay per year of service inclusive of statutory entitlements with a cap of €100,000. The Company offered two weeks pay per year of service plus statutory entitlements with a cap of €37,500, which was subsequently increased to €45,000.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a number of Conciliation Conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 29th of July, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 11th of October, 2005.
3. 1. The changes in work practices will result in substantial savings for the Company going forward.
2. The Union's claims as presented for the enhanced Redundancy terms, the retention of the Early Start Payment and the Buy Out of theContract / Piece Rates/ Bonus are fair and reasonable in the circumstances and will improve the viability of the Company.
3. 1. The Company has sustained severe financial losses since 2002 and is unable to secure financial backing going forward until restructuring within the Company is complete.
2. The Company may not remain viable as a result of the additional costs of the restructuring/redundancies . It is imperative for the Company's survival that these matters be resolved as soon as possible.
The Court has considered fully the submissions of the parties and their respective positions at the end of the Conciliation process. The Court is aware of the level of agreement between the parties on the parlous financial position of the Company and, in an attempt to bridge the remaining gap, recommends as follows:-
Early Start Payment:
Should be €35 per week and compensation of €750 should be paid, this being approximately equal to one year's buy-out.
Contracts / Piece Rates / Bonus - Buy Out:
The position of the Company at the end of the Conciliation process should be amended to provide for a buy-out of €30,000 for the highest earners ( and pro rata) and this should be accepted by the Union.
The package should be four weeks' pay per year of service (including statutory entitlement) with a cap of €65,000.
Sustaining Progress Payments:
Issues remaining over these should be processed as set out in Clause 1.10 of the Sustaining Progress Agreement.
These, such as flexibility, telesales, Christmas bonus, new bonus scheme, pensions, breaks and sick pay are all either agreed or in local discussions. They are, therefore, not before the Court at this time for consideration.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th October, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.