INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
RANGELAND FOODS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY MANAGEMENT SUPPORT SERVICES IRL
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Change in Shift Roster arrangements
2. This case concerns a dispute between Rangeland Foods Limited and SIPTU in relation to changes in established shift rosters. The Company is located in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan and is involved in the production of meat products. Initially, the Company operated a four shift cycle, but claims that due to a loss of business, it was necessary to adopt a three shift cycle instead.
The Union is claiming that Managements unilateral changes to working arrangements has resulted in a loss of earnings for the maintenance workers in question and it is seeking the re-instatement of the four shift pattern. It is also seeking compensation for the loss of the overtime earnings that resulted as a result of the change.
The dispute was not 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 matter was referred to the Labour Court on 1st March, 2007 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 10th June, 2008, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3 1 Management employed an additional worker whose pattern of attendance included Saturdays. This resulted in a loss of Saturday overtime to the existing maintenance staff and a subsequent loss of earnings.
2Management unilaterally imposed changes to the workers shift pattern by imposing temporary lay offs of each of the four workers one week in four.
3 The Union is seeking compensation for the loss of overtime earnings and a commitment that any future changes to working arrangements would be reached by agreement between the parties.
4 1 Management has suffered a significant loss of business in recent times. To remain competitive, it must manage its business effectively to control costs.
2 Management attempted to resolve the situation by suggesting that the maintenance workers move to the production area of the Company. This would have resulted in all workers being employed at all times rather than temporary lay offs occurring every fourth week.
3 The Company has not made any savings through the changes to the roster. It must make the necessary changes due to its difficult trading position. The Union's claim for compensation is, therefore, not valid and is unsustainable.
Having considered the oral and written submissions made by the parties, the Court recommends that the parties should resume talks, with the assistance of the conciliation service of the Labour Relations Commission if necessary, as a matter of urgency, on the question of numbers employed in production and a new shift pattern for maintenance
as deemed necessary to support such a production model. Any claim for loss of regular rostered Saturday overtime arising from shift changes should be addressed in the course of these overall discussions.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27th June 2008______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.