INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Shift Relief Premium
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between Swords Laboratories and TEEU in relation to the applicable rate of pay paid to fitters while they are resting on Monday having provided relief shift cover on the Sunday evening . The Union's position is that it had previously been agreed between the parties that the premium should be paid for the hours of rest on the Monday as applies when cover is provided on other nights of the week. Management's position is that a new shift begins on Monday at 8.30am and another fitter would be in receipt of the premium and that it would be unsustainable and inappropriate to pay twice for the same period.
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 matter was referred to the Labour Court on 10th April, 2006 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 7th July, 2006.
3. 1. This issue was previously in dispute and was agreed with Management and Shop Stewards at a meeting held on 16th Ocotber 2002 that if the rest day following a period of required cover is a Monday, the appropriate shift rate will be paid. This was minuted and was thought to be agreed between the parties.
2. Management unilaterally refused to pay the agreed rate on the basis that another worker will be in receipt of the premium from the Monday and the Company cannot pay twice. This is unacceptable and a clear breach of written agreements and previous custom and practice within the Company.
4. 1. The shift relief fitter is no longer providing relief cover as of 8.30am on Monday and therefore the payment of the additional premium is not warranted.
2. The Company is operating in an extremely competitive environment and cannot sustain the cost of paying twice for the same period of cover.
3. The claim is cost increasing and precluded under National Wage Agreements.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court is of the view that the clarification supplied by management to the Union's query, outlined in the minutes of the meeting 16th October 2002, supports the Union's contention that where the rest day falls on a Monday following a called in relief shift, the employee concerned should be paid at the appropriate shift premium for the paid 12 hours on the Monday. The Court also supports its contention that the appropriate premium in these circumstances is 331/3%.
Therefore the Court upholds the Union's claim. The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th July 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.