INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
S2(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2001,
AS AMENDED BY THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS(MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACT, 2004
SHOW JUMPING ASSOCIATION OF IRELAND
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Referral from The Labour Relations Commission under the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act, 2001, as amended by the Industrial Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004.
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between the Showjumping Association of Ireland (SJAI) and SIPTU in relation to pay and conditions of employment of clerical workers employed by SJAI who are members of SIPTU.
The Union served claims on the employer in respect of the following:
(a) Introduction of an incremental pay scale, (b) application of national pay increases, (c) introduction of pension and sick pay schemes, (d) the introduction of grievance and disciplinary procedures compliant with relevant statutes and (e) the facility to distribute Union publications in accordance with Statutory Instrument 169 of 1993.
The issues in dispute were referred to the Advisory, Development and Research Service of the Labour Relations Commission and while some of the issues were partially resolved, outstanding matters were referred to the Labour Court on 17th November 2005 in accordance with Section 2(1) of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act, 2001, as amended by the Industrial Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004. A Labour Court Hearing took place on 6th January 2006.
3. 1. The rates of pay are out of line with comparators in the Public Service. The application of an incremental pay scale consistent with Clerical and Executive grades in the Public Service based on service is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. Increases due under National Wage agreements should also be applied on the due dates.
2. The Union is seeking the introduction of a transparent sick-pay scheme which will supplement Social Welfare payments and provide for full payment of salary for the duration of the sick pay scheme.
3. The Company have a limited Contributory Pension Scheme in place for one member of staff whereby other members of staff were only offered the minimum legal requirement; access to PRSA's. The Union is seeking the introduction of a pension scheme to all employees.
4. The Union is requesting that its members be given the facility to distribute Union information in compliance with S.I. 169 of 1993.
5. The relevant Statutory Instrument relating to issues of grievance and discipline is S.I. 146 of 2000. This provides that individuals with grievances and issues of discipline may be represented by a person of their choice including a Trade Union official. The Union is seeking the application of the principles of S.I 146 of 2000 in the company's grievance and disciplinary procedures.
4. 1. Rates of pay in the Public Service bear no relevance in the Showjumping Association of Ireland. National Wage agreement increases have applied in the SJAI on the basis of board approval and the sanction of payment. There are nine staff members each with different roles and skills sets. The introduction of an incremental salary scale is inappropriate in the circumstances. A bonus scheme of 3% has been offered to staff which is a more practical approach given the unique nature of the SJAI staff structure.
2. The Sick Pay Scheme as proposed by the Company would apply to workers with 6 months service in the Company. There would be no payment for the first three days and the Scheme would provide for six weeks pay per trading year on receipt of a medical certificate and complying with reporting procedures.The scheme is in line with precedent and other schemes provided in similar situations.
3. The extra cost of introducing a pension scheme would be unsustainable. The Company provides PRSA deductions for its employees although there is very little interest in this arrangement.
4. The application of S.I. 169 of 1993 which allows for the distribution of Union publications is inappropriate in this case as the employer does not engage in collective bargaining.
5. The Company has introduced a Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure which is compliant with S.I. 146 of 2000. There is no obligation on the employer to refer to the words "Trade Union" in their policies. The Company respect the right of an individual to be represented by their Trade Union official.
This dispute came before the Court pursuant to Section 2 of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2001, as amended. The Court is satisfied that the requirements specified by Section 2(1) of the Act have been met and that it has jurisdiction to investigate the dispute.
Having considered the submissions of the parties the Court recommends as follows in relation to the matters referred to it for investigation:-
The Union's claim is for the establishment of a pay linkage between the Company and Local Authority employments. The employer in this case is a private sector membership organisation which receives some public funding in respect of specific activities.
In the Court's view, before the present claim could be entertained , the Union would have to establish that existing rates are out of line on the basis of fair comparison with analogous employments. In advancing its claim the Union have been unable to refer the Court to any analogous employment in which rates of pay are determined by reference to those applicable to public sector employments. In these circumstances the Court can see no basis upon which it could recommend concession of this claim.
The Court notes the employer's offer to introduce a bonus scheme and recommends that this offer be accepted. Any issues of difference which may arise between individuals and the Company in relation to the application of the scheme should be dealt with through the internal grievance procedure.
The Court recommends that the sick pay scheme proposed by the Company be accepted. It is noted, however, that the current practice of the Company is to pay staff in respect of the first three days of illness on a discretionary basis. The Court recommends that this practice should continue in respect of existing staff only and that payment for the first three days of illness should not be unreasonably withheld from any such individual.
The Court recommends that the Company introduce a defined contribution pension scheme for all staff. The rate of contributions should be 5% from the employer and 5% from the employee. In the case of any individual who has more favourable arrangement at present, this should continue on a personal-to-holder basis.
Code of Practice on Employee Representatives (S.I. 169 of 1993)
The Union claimed the application of the above-mentioned Code of Practice. The term "Employee Representative" is defined by this Code as follows:-
- "employee of an undertaking or establishment who have been formally designated employee representatives for that undertaking or establishment by a trade union in accordance with the rules of that trade union and any employer/trade union agreement which relates to the appointment of such representatives in that undertaking or establishment and
- who normally participate in negotiations about terms and conditions of employment for all or a section of the workforce and who are involved in the procedures for the settlement of any disputes or grievances which may arise in that undertaking or establishment."
It is clear that this Code of Practice is directed at employment in which collective bargaining normally takes place. As it is not the practice of the Company to engage in collective bargaining this Code of Practice is not applicable to its employees and the Court does not recommend that the Union's claim be conceded.
Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures:
The Union claimed that the current internal procedures for the processing of issues relating to individual grievances and disciplinary matters are inadequate in that they do not provide for representation of employees by a trade union in appropriate cases.
The Court recommends that the employer put in place a disciplinary and grievance procedure which conforms with the general provisions of the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures (SI 146 of 2000) and in particular that apropriate provision be made for representation by an employee representative as provided by paragraph 4.4 of the Code.
Any dispute on this issue should be processed through the procedures provided for by Section 43(1) of the Industrial Relations Act 1990.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th January 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.