INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
PFIZER (IRELAND) TRADING AS WYETH NUTRITIONALS
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Hayes
Employer Member: Ms Cryan
Worker Member: Mr Shanahan
1. Appeal of Recommendation of a Rights Commissioner r-113951-ir-11.
2. The Claimant has worked for the Company for thirty two years and has received a Service Award initially after ten years service and every fifth service anniversary after that. The scheme was introduced in 1984 During 2010, as part of cost saving restructuring measures that also included redundancies, the Service Awards Scheme was unilaterally altered in value at the Askeaton plant by €75,000 per annum. The dispute concerns whether or not Management should have unilaterally altered the value of the Service Award Scheme.
The issue involves a claim by a Worker. The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On the 14th February 2013, the Rights Commissioner issued his Recommendation as follows:-
"The respondents' submission is preferred in relation to contractual position and discretion. The award scheme does not form part of wages in my opinion and therefore I am not in a position to make a recommendation favourable to the claimant."
On the 21st March, 2013 the Union appealed the Rights Commissioners Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 9th October 2013.
3. 1. The Claimant on reaching 30 years service with the Employer anticipated that his Service Award would be in line with the established scheme and expected a €1,250 voucher, a gift to the value of €70 and a €150 Dinner voucher which together have a total value of €1,440. The value of the reduced scheme is €320
2. The Claimant was not consulted prior to the amendment to the scheme nor was his agreement sought in relation to this change.
4. 1. The structure and spend on Service Awards was found to be significantly out of line with external and internal benchmarks and was revised downwards for all employees. All compensation and benefit schemes in key areas such as pension and medical insurance are not affected.
2. The Scheme does not form part of an employment contract nor is it part of a Collective Agreement. It has been adjusted in the past without dispute and is at the discretion of Management.
The Court has carefully considered the submissions of both parties to this dispute.
On the basis of the evidence presented the Court finds that the Claimant has been treated no differently to other staff member affected by Management's Decision to restructure the Long Service Award Scheme.
Accordingly the Court upholds the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31th October, 2013______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to John Foley, Court Secretary.