INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Christmas Bonus, Allowances/ Conditions.
2. Uponor Limited is a major Multinational Company. The Company has a plant based in Cork, which is primarily involved in the production of Plastic Pipe systems for Irish and British markets. Over the last number of years changes at Uponor Group level have resulted in regularisation across the Corporation on a range of business practices. In accordance with the Group’s Corporate Policy a review of HR-related practices was conducted at the Cork site in early 2005.
The new Travel Policy and other changes were announced to staff by way of a presentation. Employees of the Company viewed this as an attempt to change some of the terms and conditions outlined in their benefits packages.
A number of meetings were held throughout 2005 in an effort to resolve the issues. 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 2nd February, 2007 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 7th March, 2007.
3. 1. Unilateral changes to Employees' terms and conditions of employment were imposed by Uponor in 2005 without agreement.
- 2. Staff received a memo in 2002 from the Managing Director at the time listing the members' entitlements to a bonus of one-twelfth of salary and the criteria for non-payment of same.
3. The Company was not willing to discuss or negotiate the changes with staff.
2. A number of the terms and conditions of Employees' benefits packages appeared to be out-of-date and unusual in the circumstances.
The dispute before the Court is on behalf of 11 sales/administrative staff. The Union claims that the Company unilaterally changed their conditions/benefits of employment in June 2005 when it introduced a new Corporate Policy without agreement. The changes related to Bonus Arrangements, Meal Allowances, Travel Allowances and Expense Arrangements, Golf Club Membership, Landline Home Phones and a Taxi Service for One Named Employee.
The Company indicated that over the last three years new policies at Group level have resulted in regularisation of HR practices including travel allowances and expense management, bonus arrangements, subsistence arrangements, etc. Against this background, and the need to address the deteriorating performance of the business at the Cork plant, it identified a number of areas of concern and introduced a number of changes, in particular those relating to the mechanism of reward.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court notes the Union’s willingness to engage with the Company on the proposed changes sought. Accordingly, the Court recommends that the parties should enter into immediate negotiations on the outstanding issues; this process should be completed within a period of one month from the date of this Recommendation. In the meantime, the Court recommends that the meal allowance should be reinstated with full retrospection, pending resolution of the discussions and the Union should accept the Company’s proposal to replace the landline home phones with mobile phones.
If final agreement cannot be reached then the parties are at liberty to refer the case back to the Court for a definitive Recommendation.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th March, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Lisa McCarthy, Court Secretary.