INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
DAIRY EXECUTIVES' ASSOCIATION
Chairman: Mr Hayes
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Non-Payment of 2009 Bonus.
2. This dispute arose from the Company's decision to change the way it calculates a performance-related bonus. The Dairy Executives' Association, on behalf of the Workers, referred this case to the Labour Court on 24th June, 2010, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969, and agreed to be bound by the Court's Recommendation. A Labour Court hearing took place on 8th September, 2010.
3. 1. By introducing these changes without consultation, the Company changed the Workers' terms and conditions of employment unilaterally.
2. The Company is extremely profitable and paid out a record dividend to its shareholders in the year in question.
3.The Workers are being treated differently to other employees of the Company.
4. 1. There is no automatic right to a bonus payment.
2. If a business does not perform there can be no bonus paid.
3.The Company is seeking to ensure that its bonus policy is fair and appropriate.
The Court has carefully considered the submissions of both parties in this case. The Court notes the historical development of bonus arrangements for the affected grades within the Company. The Court also notes the financial and trading circumstances within which the Company and staff have had to operate over recent years. Nevertheless the Court is of the view that good management and industrial relations practice would require the company to engage meaningfully with staff representatives, in this case the DEA, on the structure and operation of the bonus scheme prior to any significant alteration to it by the Company. Whilst it is not possible to effect such an engagement for the 2009 / 2010 trading years it should now begin immediately to address any outstanding issues in respect of those years and to engage on a way forward for the future.
The Court is further of the view that details of the qualification criteria for payment under the bonus scheme should be communicated to all staff before the commencement of the relevant trading year. Changing the rules of the scheme five months into the relevant year is unfair and at odds with best practice. Accordingly, the Court recommends that affected staff in the Consumer Division should be assessed for bonus payments in respect of 2009 on the basis of the rules that applied at the beginning of that trading year and be paid accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
4th October, 2010______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jonathan McCabe, Court Secretary.