INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
FIELD BOXMORE LIMERICK LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Introduction of Service Pay.
2. Field Boxmore Limerick Ltd was established in 1994 and is part of the healthcare division of Field Group Plc, which is owned by Chesapeake. The Company manufactures paperboard cartons and leaflets for the healthcare industry and employs seventy five people. The Company operates a number of shift systems with rates varying from 17% to 37%. The dispute before the Court relates to Service Pay, where the Union seeking the introduction of a service payment scheme in recognition of the loyalty and hard work provided by its members at the plant. The Company rejects the claim and contends that it is cost-increasing and thus precluded under Sustaining Progress.
- 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. At Conciliation a proposal was put forward by the Company where it would introduce service days i.e. one day's annual leave for people with more than ten years service, two days after fifteen years and three days after twenty years on the basis that the Union would agree to eliminate the existing payment for the first three days of absence under the sick pay scheme. The Union contends that it rejected the offer on the basis of the link to the dilution of the sick pay scheme.
As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 25th November, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 19th April, 2006.
3. 1. The Union is seeking recognition from the Company for service given by its members. The Union is agreeable to accept this recognition as a service payment or in service days once the offer is unattached to the dilution of other terms and conditions of employment.
2. The average service within the Company is only five or six years with a very small number exceeding this. Consequently the cost to the Company will be deferred if the service award is weighted towards longer service. The Union is requiring that recognition commences at the five year mark but is agreeable to the heavier weighting for longer service. The cost of this will be offset by turnover.
3. The claim is fair and reasonable as the wages in the Company are quite low and the Court is requested to decide in the Union's favour with the implementation of any Recommendation being from the date of the claim.
4. 1. The Company has for some time experienced very high levels of absenteeism and believe that this is as a result of its very favourable sick pay scheme whereby staff receive twelve weeks' full pay commencing on the first day of absence. In light of the high levels of absenteeism, Management determined that it could not provide for additional annual leave days, however, it could look at it in the context of amending the sick pay scheme such that the Company would no longer pay for the first three days of absence. The annual average rate of absence in 2005 was 5.76% and is currently running at 6.15%.
2. The Company is competing in a global market where competition is increasing and to ensure survival the Company must provide the highest quality products at a competitive price. If the Company is to remain viable it must retain tight control over its total labour costs. The Company pays an excellent overall remuneration package to its employees. The Company paid out €19,000 in bonuses in 2005, which equates to €300 per employee. The Company is not in a position to incur further costs.
3. The claim is cost increasing and is therefore prohibited by the Programme for Sustaining Progress. The Company is asking the Court to appreciate the competitive realities facing the Company and the favourable remuneration package it already provides to employees.
It is the view of the Court that this claim is precluded by the provisions of "Sustaining Progress" and, accordingly, the Court does not recommend concession of the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th May 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.