INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
DITSU TRADING LTD
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. 1. Pay 2. Provisions of written contracts of employment 3. Pension entitlements 4. PRSI - clarification 5. Staffing levels 6. Provision of adequate training programmes 7. Unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment without negotiation.
2. The Company operates five "tuck shop" style outlets across five DIT College sites. The Company operates during the academic term only, closing for Christmas, Easter and the Summer period. DITSU Trading Limited was declared insolvent on 30th August, 2004. Following negotiations between the Company, its parent Company (DITSU Ltd.) and the DIT a once-off repayable loan was secured to enable the Company to resume trading in January, 2005. The Union engaged in discussions with the Company on its claims but agreement was not reached. The Union sought to refer the dispute to the Labour Relations Commission but the Company declined to participate in the process. On the 8th November, 2005 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. A Court hearing was held on the 23rd February, 2006.
3. 1.Pay. There was a commitment from Management at a meeting with the Union in September, 2004 that the wages would be paid from September, 2004. Current wages would be paid at the end of the first week re-trading but the outstanding monies would be paid from an agreed period between September, 2004 and January, 2005. This was not done. The Company's claim that monies paid to staff as a start-up bonus was to be regarded as full compensation for outstanding wages was not agreed with the Union. All outstanding monies minus the start-up bonus payment should be honoured and paid. The Union has provided details to the Court of the amounts of wages plus bonus payments owing to seven workers.
2.Written contracts of employment. The Union is seeking discussions with the Company to reach agreement on updated contracts of employment.
3.Pension entitlements. The Union is seeking the payment of pension contributions for the period between September and December, 2004.
4.PRSI.The Union is seeking the payment of PRSI contributions for the period between September and December, 2004.
5.Staffing levels.There should be discussions between the parties on the provision of adequate staff levels to allow rest breaks.
6.Training.An adequate training programme should be provided such as Irish Trade Union Trust training for workers in Employment Projects which are accredited with HETAC, to up-skill and enhance existing skills.
7.Terms and conditions of employment. All terms and conditions of employment contracted and custom and practice must be reinstated including shop managers' bonus as per contract of employment. Management has imposed changes without discussion or agreement.
4. 1.Pay.As part of the negotiation process in 2004 it was agreed that a start-up payment was made to workers as a without prejudice ex-gratia payment. This was the first of a number of awards made to workers in addition to Sustaining Progress awards. The Company does not owe any monies as outstanding wages. The Company has paid all awards under Sustaining Progress. On re-commencement of trade on 17th January, 2005 the Company payroll was backdated to 4th January, 2005.
2.Written contracts of employment.All employees have a written contract of employment. The Company is willing to discuss any issues arising with the Union.
3.Pension entitlements.The Company provides a "Retirement Solution Scheme" administered by Irish Life plc. There are two members of this scheme in the current employment of the Company. The Company has ensured that all pension deductions for years 2003 and 2004 have been forwarded to Irish Life plc.
4.SI.The payroll function within the Company ceased to operate in September, 2004, therefore, the Company does not have a liability for PRSI until recommencement of trade in January, 2005.
5.Staffing levels. The Company employs such staff as is financially sustainable. The Company employs a mix of full and part-time staff. There are always adequate levels of staff employed at the Company's outlets.
6.Training.The Company is determined that the well-being of all employees is safeguarded through strict adherence to Health and Safety standards, in line with Safety Health and Welfare Act, 1989. In addition to ensure compliance under the Health and Safety at Work Act, 2005, all employees will participate in a training programme in May, 2006.
7.Terms and conditions of employment.There have not been unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment without negotiation. Contracts of employment do not award remuneration for rest periods. The Company proposes to cease payments for rest periods due to the burden on Company payroll. In relation to the bonus scheme for managers the scheme in operation was not reflective of best practice and a new scheme was introduced in May, 2005 whereby ten per cent of net profit, as declared by the Company Auditor, is to be sub-divided amongst managers on a pro rata basis.
The dispute before the Court relates to the Union's referral of a number of claims which arose following temporary cessation of the Company's business, after its auditors declared it insolvent on 30th August, 2004. The Company recommenced trading in January, 2005.
A start up lump sum payment was paid to each of the claimants in recognition of their loss of earnings and their cooperation with the recommencement of the Company. The Union contended that this payment was one phase of a three phase compensation package for loss of 19 weeks wages and bonus and it sought payment of the remainder. This was disputed by the Company who submitted that there was no commitment given to pay 19 weeks pay and bonus.
Having considered the views of both sides expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court recommends that due to the state of confusion which appeared to accompany the attempts to restart the business, the Company should now pay each of the claimants concerned an additional once off lump sum of €1000 in full and final settlement of the claim for outstanding monies.
Furthermore, the other matters referred to by the Union concerning changes to terms and conditions of employment, should be the subject of negotiations between the parties, under normal industrial relations procedures.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
6th March, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.