INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Ms Cryan
Worker Member: Mr McCarthy
1. 1 - Pay Claim Siemens Operators. 2 - Pay Claim Rework Operators. 3 - Pay Claim Injection Moulding Operators.
2. This dispute concerns a claim for an increase in pay for certain groups of production operatives. This 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 11th February, 2015, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 9th April, 2015.
3 1The Workers’ jobs have changed considerably over time.
2The Company should recognise this by awarding additional pay.
3The Workers should be free to pursue their specific claims regardless of any general wage claim.
4 1The Company operates in an extremely competitive market with very tight margins.
2The Company is entitled to expect flexibility from its staff.
3.The Company has addressed pay claims by way of a general pay increase.
There were three issues before the Court concerning claims by the Union for increases in pay in respect of (i) Siemens Operators, (ii) Rework Operators and (iii) Injection Mounding Operators.
- (i)Siemens Operators
At the time it was agreed between the parties that a weekly monetary amount would be paid to the Operators rather than an allowance related to the period when they worked on the machines.
In recent times the Union sought a substantial increase in the allowance due to changes in the duties performed by the Operators. In an effort to resolve the dispute the Company offered to increase the weekly allowance from €34.76 to €43.64 with effect from 1stJanuary 2014. When this offer failed to resolve the matter, a proposal on general pay increases whichinter aliaaddressed this claim was put forward by the Conciliation Officer of the Labour Relations Committee dated 11thJune 2014 and was recommended for acceptance by both parties. The proposal in respect of Siemens Operators was rejected. The Union sought 25% of basic pay, indexed linked for the future, applicable to shift, sick pay, bonus, annual leave and overtime retrospective to 2008.
Having considered the submissions made by both parties the Court does not find in favour of the Union’s claim, however on the basis that these Claimants operate the Siemens machines on a consistent basis the Court recommends that the 11thJune 2014 LRC proposal should be improved as follows:-
The allowance should be 10% of basic pay, therefore the weekly allowance should be increased to €45.41 per week with effect from 1stJanuary 2014 with pro rata for all overtime worked, and the proposal to pay a lump sum of €500 to those Siemens Operators who commenced prior to 1stJanuary 2014 should be improved to a lump sum of €750.
- (ii)Rework Operators
The Union sought an additional €70 per week for Rework Operators due to their increased workload to bring them in line with the practice which operated in 1994 for Test and Repair Operators. It sought this additional payment to be indexed linked for the future, applicable to shift, sick pay, bonus, annual leave and overtime and backdated to 13thJanuary 2014.
The Company informed the Court that the Test and Repair Operators grade was abolished by agreement in 1994 and in 2002 the Labour Court rejected the Union’s contention that the Test and Repair Centre had been re-established and therefore it sought to align workers to the previous Test and Repaid Grade.
Having considered the submissions made by both parties the Court is satisfied that the Test and Repair Operator grade was abolished by agreement in 1994 when it was agreed that for the future all such Operators would be graded as Production Operators. Therefore as the Test and Repaid work no longer exists the Court sees no merit in the Union’s claim.
- (iii)Injection Mounding Operators
Having considered the submissions made by both parties the Court is not satisfied that an upgrade is warranted in this instance and in any event the Court specifically excluded any “knock on” claims for the special allowance awarded to Siemens Operators in 2004.
The Court so Recommends in respect of the three claims before it.
Given the need for the Company to increase competitiveness which was emphasised in the course of the hearing, the Court is of the view that the parties would benefit from an input from the SIPTU Workplace Innovation Initiative.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th April, 2015______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jonathan McCabe, Court Secretary.