INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
BRAUN ORAL B (CARLOW)
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. De-Scaling (4 operatives).
2. Brawn Oral B is based in Carlow and is one of 143 manufacturing plants within the Proctor & Gamble Group. The Company is seeking to de-scale (take-off shift) four long serving operatives and to continue their employment as day workers. The parties cannot agree on shift loss compensation terms for the four individuals. The four operatives have long service of between 25 and 31 years with the Company on contracts that established them as shift workers. The Union has sought the retention of the shift premium on a "red-circle" basis for each of the four workers. The Company has rejected this.
- 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. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 14th November, 2006 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 27th February, 2007.
3.1 The Union argues that changing from 3 shifts working to day working is an immediate loss of earnings of 23% or approximately €208 per week. There are also hidden losses with regard to additional overtime, which is associated with shift working. Annual losses will amount from approximately €6,000 to €10,000. Projected losses will therefore be multiplied depending on service left to retirement.
2. Unfortunately the number employed at the plant continue to decline and more redundancies are planned for 2007. The Union is concerned with the effect such a financial reduction would have in the event of redundancy.
3. The Union believes that the retention of shift premium for its four members on a red circle basis should apply regardless of whether day work is required.
4. The Union pointed out that while the workers could justifiably have maintained their position as contained in their contracts of employment and not be included in the day rosters; however, they decided in the interest of the company's viability, to comply with the Company's new restructuring arrangements.
5. The workers concerned held contracts which bound them to permanently operate shifts. To deny them the right to continue to maintain their earning potential applicable since they joined the Company would be gravely unfair.
4.1 Employees at the Company have gone through a considerable change programme over the last two years. Work processes and plant performances have shown significant improvements. As a result of the recent Labour Court Recommendation LCR 18479 the plant can offer 24/7 capacity if and when there is a market demand.
2. All contracts for the technical group were clarified and compensated for at that time.
3. Management acknowledges that it is only with the continued involvement and commitment of the workforce that survival of the Company can continue.
4. The Company in line with it's commitment to fairness and equity, wishes to address this issue of compensation for loss of earnings when employees revert to days, but emphasises that this must be plant-wide as it could effect other employees in the future.
5. The Company submits that the terms indicated by the Company are fair and reasonable, and in line with industry norms.
The case before the Court concerns four workers who have worked on long-term shift working, mainly on a three-shift pattern. The dispute before the Court arises due to the Company’s requirement for a revision of their contracts of employment to provide for day working - 8am to 4.30pm. The Union sought the retention of the shift premium on a “red-circled” basis for each of the four members involved.
The Company informed the Court that as part of a settlement made, following Labour Court Recommendation No: 18479, compensation monies were paid out in return for an acceptance by workers of a liability to work all shift patterns including days and that the workers involved in this case were also party to that settlement. While the Union disputed that the settlement applied to these workers, it stated that they had agreed to stand aside to protect the future viability of the plant; and it proceeded to submit the claim herein.
The Company made it clear that it was anxious to resolve a long standing issue regarding compensation of loss of shift earnings, as and when it applies toallemployees, not just the four workers involved. Consequently, it offered to improve its existing “descaling” formula, which applies in such circumstances.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court recommends that the Company’s offer as outlined should be amended and hereby recommends the following descaling payments. The Court recommends that this recommended formula should be accepted in full and final settlement of this dispute:
Years on Continuous Shift No. of Weeks Descaling
- 15 36
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.