Cadbury staff lose battle for more time to clock in
Published 19/10/2011 | 05:00
CONFECTIONERY staff have lost a bid for an extra 15 minutes to clock into work in case they get stuck at a new turnstile.
The Cadbury workers complained they could face logjams at a new barrier system to gain access to the factory floor.
They said they could be delayed if colleagues could not find their swipe card to allow them get through the security measure, which affects 550 workers at the manufacturing plant in Coolock, north Dublin.
The staff sought extra time to clock in for a trial period of a year, at the Labour Court. They argued that they could lose pay and good attendance bonuses by being late.
But the court has thrown out their claim, although it said the company should "act sensitively" if there were problems with the new system.
The dispute arose after Cadbury Ireland outlined plans to install the new turnstile to improve security. UNITE and the Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union asked for leeway of an extra 15 minutes for staff in case of delays due to the new access control system.
"There is a potential for delay at the entry points due to the large number of staff arriving for work at the same time slot," the unions told the court.
"If someone forgets, or cannot find their swipe card, this will also create a delay for workers clocking in.
"A grace period of 15 minutes for a trial period of one year should apply in cases where employees were delayed entry through no fault of their own."
Cadbury Ireland said the grace period was not justified and could have a negative impact on the running of the factory.
It said it would not penalise employees who were late if there was a mechanical or electrical failure.
"The new requirements are considered by the company to be part of the ongoing change process, which any successful and sustainable business needs to be capable of," it said.
It said it had allowed enough time for talks on the new system but needed to move ahead with the measures.
Talks took place at the Labour Relations Commission, but agreement was not reached and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court and a hearing took place last month.
Chairman Kevin Duffy said the operation of the system should be reviewed after three months.
US giant Kraft Foods, which owns Cadbury, said it did not comment on matters relating to employee relations.