INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
BEAMISH & CRAWFORD
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Changes in shift pattern.
2. The dispute concerns 5 fitters/electricians employed by Beamish & Crawford at the brewery in Cork City and the interpretation and application of the 1993 Agreement which states "the electricians will operate on a 2-shift rota (days and evenings).The dispute arosewhen the Company required Electricians to temporarily work shift in October 2004, it introduced the following shift on a rotating basis:
7.00am to 3.00pm
3.00pm to 11.00pm
8.00am to 5.00pm
The Electricians are operating this pattern under protest pending the outcome of the Labour Court hearing.
The Company notified the workers that the shift patterns were to be amended from 4th October, 2004. The Union claim that the decision was taken without agreement on their part.
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 27th October, 2005 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 24th May, 2006.
3.1The Union dispute the Company’s interpretation of the agreement and hold that all three Electricians should be operating on a shift pattern and in receipt of shift premium.The 1993 agreement states "the electricians will operate on a 2-shift rota (days and evenings).The 1993 agreement can only be interpreted as 3 electricians operating on a 2 shift rota (days and evenings).The Union are seeking the implementation of the 1993 agreement.
2. The electricians have since 1993 taken into consideration the economic difficulties confronting the operation of the brewery and did not demand the immediate application of the 1993 agreement.
3. In 2004 there was a turn around in the economic fortunes of the brewery with a significant increase in the market sales of its products when the Company wanted to introduce shift, the Union then sought the application of the 1993 agreement.
4.The Union put forward a proposal which included 12-hour shift and 24 hour cover Monday to Friday. This was rejected by the Company.
5. If the Company requires change to the 1993 agreement it should take on board the 3 shift system proposed by the Union and implement it, subject to review if the Company so desires.
4.1 The Company's position is that the 1993 Agreement intended, if operated, to pay shift premia two weeks in three as the Company is not in a position to increase its costs any further.
2 The electricians operated a two shift operation in 2004 and 2005 in line with the Company's requirements.
3. The Union confirmed in 2004 their acceptance of the 1986 agreement and the 1993 agreement on shift working.
4. The Company tried to facilitate the shift hours provided it was not cost increasing. However the options put forward by the Union were rejected as the Company's operational needs do not require 24 hour cover.
5. In 1993 the Company did not have a requirement for the electricians to work a different pattern to the fitters.
6. In 1993 the Company did not have requirement to have electricians operating a three shift system.
A disagreement over the interpretation of an agreement reached between the parties in 1993 gave rise to the dispute before the Court. The issue concerns the application of a shift system for Electricians. The 1993 agreement states :-
“The Electricians will operate a 2-shift rota (days and evenings).”
When the Company required Electricians to temporarily work shift in October 2004, it introduced the following shift on a rotating basis:
7.00am to 3.00pm - with a 25% shift premium one Electrician
3.00pm to 11.00pm - with a 25% shift premium one Electrician
8.00am to 5.00pm - daywork at flat rate one Electrician
The Electricians are operating this pattern under protest pending the outcome of the Court hearing.
The Union disputed the Company’s interpretation of the agreement and held that all three Electricians should be operating on a shift pattern and in receipt of shift premium. It put forward a proposal which included 12-hour shift and 24 hour cover Monday to Friday. The Company stated that their operational needs do not require 24-hour cover.
Having considered the submissions of both sides the Court notes that the 1993 agreement on shift working for Electricians was never implemented and the first time the requirement arose was in October 2004. The Court notes that the current requirements are being met by the shift pattern introduced by the Company in October 2004. Therefore, the Court takes the view that in the prevailing conditions it is reasonable and fair that the Electricians should now work this pattern. Consequently, the Court recommends that the Union should cooperate fully with the Company on the shift pattern currently in place.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.