Sunday 4 December 2016

Sandwich-making staff set for €2.12/hr pay rise in landmark decision

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

Published 08/06/2016 | 13:31

Bacon sandwich
Bacon sandwich

Staff at a sandwich-making firm are set for a €2.12 an hour pay rise in the first case taken under legislation to improve conditions for staff whose employers will not strike deals with unions.

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Siptu took the case on behalf of over 50 staff at Freshways Food Company in Ballymun in Dublin who earn just above the minimum wage, at €9.38 an hour.

Under the recommendation, they will get a 70c pay rise on September 1, another 70c on June 1 next year, and 72c on January 1 2018, bringing them up to the ‘living wage’ rate of €11.50 an hour.

In addition, a sick leave scheme is to be introduced that will entitle them to 10 days sick leave pay a year, and an extra day of annual leave if they have five years service. In addition, any staff member going through disciplinary procedures has the right to trade union representation.

The workers are in general operative roles and are mostly migrant workers.

Siptu’s manufacturing division took the case under the legislation, which provides for binding increases in pay and conditions in circumstances where an employer does not engage in collective bargaining.

“This is a landmark decision,” said Siptu Organiser, Colm Casserly.

He said it will be a benchmark for claims by members of the union in food processing and other sectors

The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act of last year aims to assist staff whose employers will not engage in collective bargaining.

It means that both sides are initially 'bound' by a Labour Court recommendation. However, if the employer does not abide by it, the union can then get a determination order from the court. It can seek to have this enforced in the civil courts.

The SIPTU Manufacturing Division has two further claims under the act that have been submitted to the Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court.

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