INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
QUANTUM PERSONAL CARE
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Rate for two-cycle shift.
2. The Company produces a range of private contract and supermarket own-brand toothpaste with exports accounting for 80% of total production.
Since December, 2000 the Company has operated a rotating two-shift cycle, the hours of work being 8.00a.m. to 4.00 p.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 12.00 midnight. The shift premium paid was 17%. Since February, 2005, the Company adjusted the late shift to 12.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. and changed the shift premium to 10%. The Union claim is for the establishment of a shift premium of 20%. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A Conciliation Conference was held but agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 12th June, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 1st September, 2006.
3. 1. The Union accepts that shift working is provided for in agreements negotiated, however, the issue of a shift premium rate was never agreed, either directly with staff or through negotiations with the Union as, at the time, shift working was not anticipated.
2. The Union is seeking the establishment of an appropriate shift premium i.e. 20%. While the Company needs shift working as a modus operandi going forward it is appropriate at this time to regularise the issue of shift premium.
3. The current shift premium of 10% is well below the norm for the industry as a whole for two cycle shift. While rates vary from company to company the norm for two cycle shift is 20%. In the circumstances the Union's claim is fair and reasonable.
4. 1. The shift premium of 10% fairly reflects the minimal inconvenience caused to workers by this particular shift. The Union's claim for 20% is not valid on the basis that it is simply a two-cycle rotating shift. This is an a-typical shift pattern without precedent.
2. A significant proportion of companies surveyed pay less than the 20% shift premium for a two cycle (16hour) shift.
3. The Company always had a policy of operating shift work and this was provided for in the employee handbook.
4. The claim is cost increasing in that it seeks to apply a shift premium above the norms.
The Court is satisfied that the attendance pattern required on the shift at issue in this case is substantially different to that which normally applies in two shift working. In particular, the fact that the employees associated with this claim will not be required to work beyond 8 p.m. on any evening distinguishes the arrangement in dispute from shift arrangements relied upon by the Union as comparators.
In the circumstances of this case the Court recommends that a shift premium of 12.5% should apply.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
12th September, 2006
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.