SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
FIVE FARM RELATIONSHIP MANAGERS
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms O'Donnell
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Treacy
1. The minimum number of farm visits per working day and Union involvement in the structure and value of the Bonus Incentive Scheme.
2. This dispute relates to two issues; (1) the minimum number of farm visits per working day and (2) the Union involvement in the structure and value of the Bonus Incentive Scheme.
- This dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a Conciliation Conference under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 11 June 2019 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990.
A Labour Court hearing took place on 4 September 2019.
This is a dispute between Farm Relationship Managers and their Employer. There are two issues in dispute; 1) Minimum number of farm visits per working day, and 2) Union involvement in the structure and value of the Bonus Incentive Scheme. The Employer is looking to introduce a minimum of three farm visits a day. It is their belief that this should not present a difficulty as they see it as being a core function of the Farm Relationship Manager’s role. The Union's position is that this element is approximately 50% of their role and that the daily minimum does not recognise the other duties they have to carry out. It is the view of the Court that in relation to this particular issue there needs to be further engagement about how a minimum of three farm visits a day would operate and what impact it would have on other work that this grade carry out. The discussions should address the practical difficulties that can arise from a daily minimum as opposed to a weekly or monthly average of Farm visits. The Court notes the distinction put forward by the Employer between “Good Calls” and Farm Visits and that Good Calls can include telephone calls and other interactions.
In relation to the second issue around the Bonus Scheme it is the Court’s understanding that the Union are not seeking to be involved with the individual Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of each of the Workers but rather they are looking for collective discussion in relation to the monetary value of the Scheme and in circumstances where there are proposed changes to the KPIs to be used or the introduction of a new KPI and that there would be discussions in advance of implementation with the Union. It appears to the Court from reading the parties' submissions that there may not have been clarity around what the Union was seeking and in those circumstances the Court believes further discussion may be of assistance to resolve the issue.
The Court having carefully considered the submissions of the parties on these two issues recommends that the parties return to the Conciliation Service of the WRC for further discussions along the lines set out above.
The Court so Recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27 September, 2019Deputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran Roche, Court Secretary.