INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Change from 2 cycle to 3 cycle shifts.
2. The Company is involved in the processing, manufacturing and bottling of cider at its plants in Anneville, Clonmel. The dispute relates to the Company's requirement that workers on Line 1 move from 2-cycle shift to 3-cycle. There are 39 workers on Line 1 of which 12 are refusing to work a 3-cycle shift.
The Company's case is that agreement was reached in 1993 which provided for the operating of 3-cycle shift work. A shift premium of 26% was paid. In 1999 an agreement on Capital Investment Change Programme was reached. It is the Union's case that its members on Line 1 who currently work a 2-cycle shift in tandem with a permanent night shift should not be asked to work a 3-cycle shift, based on the following statement from the 1999 agreement:-
"The Utility crew will be non-rotating. In the event of 24 hour production requirement the Utility Crew will be supplemented to full crew numbers on an non rotating basis. Reference No. 2/3/4 above. The early and late shifts will alternate as normal".
The Company claims that a huge increase in production means that a 3-cycle shift on Line 1 is now a necessity.
Talks took place between the parties in 2005/2006 without agreement taking place and the issue was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. On the 28th August, 2006, the Industrial Relations Officer made a proposal of €2,000 per person to move to 3-cycle shift or the option of moving to day work was rejected by the workers. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 12th of October, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 12th December 2006, in Clonmel.
3. (1) The 1999 agreement stipulated that the utility crew would not rotate, and early and late shifts would alternate "as normal", normal meaning 2-cycle shift.
3. (2) The workers concerned are adamant that agreement to work a 3-cycle shift cannot be resolved with compensation. Since 1999 the agreement has worked satisfactorily and the workers have effectively operated Line 1.
4. (1) The Company has an agreement with the Union dating back to 1993 to work 3-cycle shifts. The agreement was previously upheld by the Labour Court in 1996.
4. (2) Business circumstances have changed radically since 1999. The recent Capital Investment Programme will see production increase from 250 million litres to 364 million litres in 2007.
4. (3) The utility crew on Line 1 no longer exists and, as such, the Company is entitled to implement 3-cycle shifts as per the 1999 agreement. It is imperative that the Company has co-operation on Line 1 which currently represents over 20% of production capacity.
The issue before the Court concerns the Company's proposal to change from a 2-shift system to a 3-shift system on Line 1 of the Production Department and the refusal by 12 employees on that Line to co-operate with the change.
Following a number of conciliation talks, and in an effort to conclude discussions on this dispute, the Industrial Relations Officer of the LRC issued a proposal to the claimants dated 28th August, 2006 (which is submitted as Appendix 4 of the Company's Submission). This proposal was rejected by the claimants.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court is satisfied that the 1993 and 1999 Company/Unions Agreements provide for the operation of 3-shift working based on the operational needs of the Company. Therefore, in the circumstances outlined to the Court, the Court is satisfied that it is reasonable for the Company to expect full co-operation for the introduction of a 3-shift system
In all the circumstances of this case, the Court finds in favour of the Company's position. The Court sees no grounds for enhancing the 28th August, 2006, offer and, accordingly, recommends that the offer should still stand in return for full co-operation with the Company's requirements. The Court recommends that following the required notice period the claimants should commence working the 3-shift system
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th January, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.