INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
TECHNICAL, ENGINEERING AND ELECTRICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Overtime rates.
2. The Company is a leading food ingredients manufacturer of speciality and functional dairy ingredients for food and beverage applications. The Company currently employs 540 people at the Listowel site of which 40 are members of the TEEU . These employees are mainly engaged in the provision of maintenance support to the 4 factories located at the site.
In August 2002, after a long series of negotiations, the Craft employees agreed to the introduction of new contracts. The agreement, which was agreed to by the Company at considerable cost, raised the basic rate of pay for maintenance staff to a rate well above that which would otherwise have been paid. It was agreed explicitly on the basis that there would be no future consequential claim re the overtime rates.
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of 32 electrician/technician staff for the application of the established Industry and National Overtime rates to be retrospectively applied to the 12th October, 2004.
The dispute 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 3rd February, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 22nd September, 2006.
3. 1.The Union is seeking an overtime rate to reflect the established norm of Time + 1/2 for all hours worked after normal finishing up to midnight, Monday to Friday, and Saturday for the first 2 hours. All other hours between 12 midnight and normal start time, Monday to Friday, to be paid at Time x 2 and all hours after the first 2 hours on Saturday up to normal start time on Monday to be paid at double time.
2. The Union refutes the Company's contention that there was a breach of the understanding given by the Maintenance Negotiating Team.
3. The Company's contention that the enhanced basic rate would protect overall earnings is not borne out by the fact that the number of calls in 3 of the factory's four locations since 2002 has dropped considerably.
4. 1. The Company contends that the Union's claim is in breach of Sustaining Progress and Towards 2016 as it is a cost-increasing claim.
2. The Company maintains that the Maintenance Negotiating Team who were party to the 2002 Agreement guaranteed on behalf of their colleagues that they would not be back within a couple of years seeking for the rates of overtime to be increased on the enhanced basic rate.
3. The Company is of the view that the maintenance staff got an excellent deal in the 2002 Agreement.
The Court is satisfied that an agreement was reached in 2002, but has not seen a copy of that Agreement other than an individual contract of employment arising therefrom. The Court is also satisfied that a review of the agreement was to take place and that this did not happen.
The Court is not in a position to comment on the conflicting views expressed by the parties on whether any undertaking was given on revisiting the questions of the basic rate and overtime rates.
The Court accordingly, noting -
- that the basic rate is in the upper quartile of rates for craftspersons; and
- that the overtime rates are inferior to the accepted norms
recommends that the parties should re-engage transparently and meaningfully, with the assistance of an Industrial Relations Officer if necessary, with a view to achieving future normalisation of the overtime rates.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th October, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.