INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CHORUS COMMUNICATIONS 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. 1. Additional annual leave 2. Implementation of 2001 proposal.
2. The Company is a regional cable TV provider employing 450 staff and has its headquarters in Limerick. The claim is on behalf of workers in the call centre. There are two elements to the claim; (1) the Union is seeking additional leave for workers depending on length of service as follows:- 5 years' service - 1 additional day, 10 years' service - 2 additional days and 15 years' service - 3 additional days. The second element is for a pay increase for a number of workers who, the Union claims, have been doing additional work as per a 2001 Company proposal but have not been paid the agreed increases. The additional work came about because of the introduction of the new Digital television system. In 2001, the Union claims, the Company developed a new second-tier position in the area of customer service and these workers were known as Senior Technical Support Representatives (STSRs). It is these STSRs who are involved in the second claim.
The claim was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place. As the parties did not reach agreement the case was referred to the Labour Court on the 25th of November, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 13th of September, 2006, in Limerick.
3. 1.Annual leave claim:The workers concerned are the frontline face of the Company in that their main work involves direct interaction with members of the public. The nature of the work can be extremely stressful.
2.2001 proposals:prior to the introduction of the Digital television system employees were only required to work on the Analogue system. The introduction of Digital has considerably increased the amount of work / "trouble shooting" involved. The Company 2001 proposals have not been implemented whereas the workers have fully co-operated with the changes required.
4. 1.Annual leave claim:the Union's claim for additional annual leave is cost-increasing and is precluded under Clause 1.5 of Sustaining Progress. The Company has applied all terms of the National Agreements.
2.2001 proposals:the majority of the 2001 proposals have been implemented by the Company, providing the workers with a compressed pay scale and an increase in rates of pay. Due to a necessary change in Company strategy the role of the STSR was not developed. The Company did not appoint anyone into these positions.
The Court has carefully considered both the written and oral submissions of the parties.
On the first claim before the Court for additional service-based annual leave the Court is satisfied that the claim is covered by Clause 1.5 of Sustaining Progress and is, therefore, precluded.
On the second claim the Court is not satisfied that the parties have engaged sufficiently on the matter of the proposed new post of Senior Technical Support Representative under the 2001 Proposals nor on what has taken place within the Company since the introduction of Digital Television in 1999 and the subsequent 2001 Proposals.
The Court, therefore, recommends that the parties re-engage locally on these matters with particular reference to work practices, technical support arrangements and general services to customers within the following parameters with the assistance of an Industrial Relations Officer if necessary. These discussions should be completed within eight weeks of the date of this Recommendation: -
1. The current merits, if any, of the post of Senior Technical Support Representative as proposed in the 2001 Proposals;
2. Ascertaining the extent of how much of the change, which has taken place since 1999, is covered by the 2001 Proposals;
3. Ascertaining the extent of how much of the change, which has taken place since 1999, is otherwise covered by normal on-going change under the National Pay Agreements during this period to date; and
4. Ascertaining the extent to which, if any, what change has taken place since 1999 may not be covered either by 2 or 3 above and, if so, whether or not a case has been established for an increase in pay over and above the National Pay Agreements.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd October, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.