‘Pig-sharing’ agreement at Rosderra before the Court

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Andy Prendergast

The Labour Court has recommended that a provision of a 2013 collective agreement between Rosderra Irish Meats and SIPTU, which provides for pig-sharing between two plants, should not be altered, following a claim by SIPTU.

SIPTU wanted to revise the 2:1 ratio of pig sharing between the Roscrea and Edenderry plants, for “fair and balanced sharing” of the short-time working that has occurred in 2019..

At the Roscrea plant, workers have lost 10 days of work in 2019 due to the national shortage of pigs for slaughter and processing.

A comprehensive 2013 agreement between the company and the union established the ratio system, as well as new pay rates at the Roscrea plant.

Rosderra management (represented by Ibec) stressed the site-specific considerations that are still in play, and despite improvements at the Roscrea plant, it is still operating at a lower efficiency than the Edenderry plant.

It also argued that the market conditions in which it operates are a continuous challenge and are out of its control. This was acknowledged by SIPTU.

The Labour Court, hearing the matter after referral from WRC conciliation, said it “cannot accede” to the union’s request that it recommend a variation to “two discreet provisions of the 2013 collective agreement.”


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The union was also seeking that a temporary change to the overtime system remain in place indefinitely.

The 2013 agreement provided for overtime after 39 hours worked during the week. “Reasonable” overtime was defined as 6 hours per week, and a maximum of 3 hours in one evening.

To alleviate the current short-time work, management agreed to pay overtime rates for any hours beyond the normal finishing time on a given day, notwithstanding if they have not reached the 39 standard weekly hours.

Management and the union had agreed to keep this change in place till the end of 2019.

However, the Court, acknowledging the “excellent working relationship at local level” between the parties, recommended that the interim overtime arrangement at the Roscrea plant continue to March 31, 2020.

It also recommended the parties “use their best endeavours in the period to 31 March 2020 to agree a long-term arrangement locally to address the impact of any future pig shortages.”

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