INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
EXAMINER PUBLICATIONS (CORK) LTD.
- AND -
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. 1. Loss of hot canteen facility on foot of relocation of Company, 2. Loyalty payment.
2. The Irish Examiner and Evening Echo newspapers (part of Thomas Crosbie Holdings Ltd) between them employ approximately 339 staff. The majority of these employees are represented by SIPTU, AMICUS and the NUJ. Management announced in May 2004 that both newspapers would be moving to modern offices. There was a decision then made by management not to continue with the hot canteen facilities currently available to employees in the new premises. The Union's claim is for compensation and a loyalty payment for the loss of the hot canteen facilities following the relocation of the Company’s office business from Academy St., Cork to Lapp’s Quay, Cork. The Company made an offer of €120,000 compensation, to be shared by the workforce. The Union rejected this offer.
- 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 the Company made a final offer of €240,000. This was also rejected by the Union. The Union is seeking that the Company continues to supply a comparable hot canteen facility in the new location. Alternatively the Union is seeking an appropriate sum in compensation for the loss of the hot canteen taking into account the substantial increase costs to workers coupled with the inconvenience which attaches to the loss of the hot canteen facility.
The hot canteen has been in existence in the Academy Street premises for over the past 25 years. It was a facility that was introduced for all and was subsidised by the Company and remains so to this day.
2. Academy Street has a number of reasonably priced street side cafes (over 25 locations within a 5 minute walk of the office) whereas Lapps Quay does not have this facility. The adjacent hotel does offer an option but it is very expensive.
3. There will be problems in times of inclement weather and if workers want a sit down hot lunch they will have to walk back to town which takes an average of 15 minutes for the return journey.
1. The Company has made a huge gain on the sale of the present premises in Academy Street. The Union believes that workers should be entitled to a share in its windfall.
2. Workers will be required to made considerable additional efforts to ensure the successful transfer of the current facility and the maintenance of the two daily newspapers during the transition to the new location.
Historically the canteen was provided when people were engaged in manual work and in printing/despatch when timelines were protracted. The Company's structure has since changed with 55 people leaving the Company from the Print and Despatch areas in March of this year.
2. Management contends that it would not be economical because of the cost associated with the provision of a hot canteen as the new building cannot accommodate such a feature. The Landlord of the Lapps Quay building is not providing a canteen in the building as there are many external third party providers available.
3. Current utilisation data indicates that less than 40 people are using the canteen on a daily basis for hot lunches.
4. The Company is prepared to make a reasonable once-off sum in an equitable manner either on a pro-rata basis or on "historical employee usage" of the canteen facilities.
- The Company is not disposed towards making such a payment for the following reasons:- Any change involved is minimal;
- People's employment will be enhanced as a result of the relocation;
- There is a continuing need for flexibility due to increased competition and the Company's pursuit of continuous improvements;
- Better conditions of employment at the new location; and
- No statutory right to compensation for any change in the location of the work-place.
The Unions submitted two claims to the Court (a) compensation payment for the loss of hot canteen facilities; and (b) a loyalty payment on foot of the Company’s relocation to new premises.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court recommends that the Unions’ dual claims should be addressed by an increase in the Company’s final offer.
In view of the particular requirement for a smooth transition to its new premises at Lapp’s Quay and the continuity of production of its newspapers the Court recommends that the Company should pay a total sum of €600,000 as compensation for the loss of the hot canteen facilities and in return for employees' full co-operation with the move.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.