INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
LM ERICSSON LTD
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Right To Union Representation
2. The dispute concerns four workers employed by the Company as Master Engineers who are union members The Union maintains that the claimants have been union members since the nineteen nineties before their promotion to the Maser Engineer grade. The Union is seeking recognition for these members and the right to represent them collectively and individually. The Company rejected the claim. Local discussions were not successful and on the 23rd March, 2006 the Union referred a complaint to the Labour Court under Section 20 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969, and agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. The Company made a written submission which was considered by the Court but declined an invitation to attend the Court hearing which was held on the 9th June, 2006.
3. 1. The claimants are entitled to be represented collectively and individually. The Company's Code of Ethics states, "We recommend that all employees should be free to peacefully and lawfully join associations of their own choosing and should have the right to bargain collectively". This is the Company's own document and clearly sets out that these workers should be allowed the right to be a member of a union.
2. The Company recognises this grade within the Marine Port and General Workers division of SIPTU. This is the same Company and the same Union.
3. The Court has recommended in favour of union recognition and negotiation rights in a dispute in relation to executive grades in Irish Shell (LCR13685 refers).
4. The Company were at all times aware that the claimants were union members as deductions were made at source.
5. The salary increments and holiday entitlements that have been given to Masters, who are members of SIPTU, have been different from those who are not members of the Union, thus recognising their membership. The Company pay SP increments to union members since January, 2005. This is not afforded to non-union members who are on a pay performance scale.
6. The Company has decided to treat the claimants less favourably than other employees, clearly against their own code of ethics. At no time were the claimants told that they were not allowed to be a member of SIPTU when being promoted, and the Company was aware that they were members from payroll deductions, and SP increments were awarded to them.
4. 1. The Master Engineers are a Management category in (R+D) which is not represented by a union. Whilst it is the right of every individual to be a member of a Union, the Company does not recognise Union representation for Management levels within R+D. On reaching the level of Master Engineer, an employee takes a Management level position and assumes the terms of employment as equate to Section Manager (Level 4 in the Professional Career Path model). This has been accepted by the individual and the company. In this regard an employee moves from a system of paid overtime to one where a Short Term Incentive ( bonus) is payable based on Group, Unit and Individual goals. Similarly and on reaching Master level within the group, employees become part of the Management group and associated terms and conditions.
2. It has always been policy that Management levels within the group are consulted with on an individual basis and not as part of collective bargaining. The Company has clearly defined processes and procedures in place which are available to address any issues or concerns an employee may have. No issues have been raised by any of the Master Engineers.in question.
3. The Company has a formal agreement with another division of SIPTU (MPGWU), This agreement dates back to 1975 when the MPGWU operated as a separate union and is rooted in a grading structure which operates in part within two other units of the Company. This agreement does provide for union representation at Master Engineer and Section Manager grade. The structures and conditions as operate within MPGWU are different to those that operate in R+D and the grading structure within MPGWU does not equate with the Professional Career Path model.
4. The Company is not seeking to implement any change to policy or practice. It continues to apply what has been policy in R+D since 1979. The Company has and will continue to deal directly with individuals in the management categories.
Having considered the submissions of the parties, the Court recommends that the Company should recognise the Union for the purposes of individual and collective representation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th June, 2006
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.