INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
FBD INSURANCE LTD.
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. 2004 Pay Review.
2. FBD Insurance Ltd a General Insurance Underwriting Company, employes 820 staff nationwide. The Company conducts periodic salary reviews in addition to applying national agreements. In 2001 a claim for a pay review taking account of salaries in comparable external employments was dealt with through the Labour Court and a Labour Court Recommendation LCR No.17002 was issued in which, inter alia, recommended a general pay review in 2004.
The Union, to be certain that all members would benefit from the Company's Head Office 2004 pay review, sought clarification from the Company as to what criteria would apply to members not on incremental points within salary scales and beyond the max of salary scales. The Union took the answer that "their salary scales will not be adjusted" to mean that off-scale members beyond scale max would be treated in the same way as off scale bands, i.e. the differential between the scale max and salary would be red-circled and that the increase proposed at scale max would apply. The issue was put to a ballot, but rejected, and following negotiations a modified offer was accepted. Prior to the ballot, the Union claims that it stated unequivocally to Management that its recommendation was predicated on the fact that all members would receive an increase of at least 6%.
- Following the 2004 review, 5 individuals were excluded, and did not benefit from the review. It was claimed by the Union that they should have.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was 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 26th May, 2006 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 28th July, 2006.
3.1The Union contends that management prior to this review had departed from agreed procedures in awarding annual increments. This was acknowledged by Management by virtue of the agreement in respect of red-circling the differential between actual salary and the preceding incremental point and to applying the increase due at that preceding incremental point.
2. The Union sought assurance that the practice mentioned above would be applied to members beyond the scale max. The Union took the response to be a confirmation that such members would receive increases on the bases at set out above. Management have since stated that this response was intended to convey that members beyond scale max would receive no pay review.
3. The five members covered by the claim did not have any official understanding that they were off scale and/or above scale. All expected increases under the pay review.
4.1 The Company committed to a review of head office salary scales in 2004 which was agreed with the Union. The five employees concerned have either never been on a salary scale or have come off a salary scale to their benefit in both situations as they have been paid salary earnings in excess of Head Office salary scale rates.
2. The Union clarified the position regarding those five in advance of a ballot of staff for acceptance of the Company's proposals which were subsequently accepted by a majority. If the Union had any difficulty with the proposals at the time of the ballot over the exclusion of staff not on salary scales they could have raised it at that juncture.
3. The claim by the Union is disingenuous given that it was clarified in advance of the ballot. The five employees involved in this claim continue to be paid salary at the maximum or ahead of new salary scales as agreed and accepted in 2004.
4. The five employees have enjoyed the benefit of individual annual salary reviews, notwithstanding their position above scale, and the fact that other staff in different roles are capped at scale maxima and do not receive annual reviews. Any additional review or adjustment to salary would result in a double reward which is inequitable and unwarranted.
5. None of the five employees have been disadvantaged; four are being paid in excess of the scale while the fifth, who is with the Company just over two years, is paid on the same level.
Having considered the oral and written submissions of the parties, the Court is satisfied that the Company's intention was to signal the non-qualification of the Claimants for the general review in 2004.
While it is the view of the Court that this could have been more clearly and unequivocally stated, the statement was nevertheless made. In the circumstances, the Court does not recommend concession of the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th August, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.