Jamaica Telephone Company Ltd v National Workers Union

 
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Industrial Disputes Tribunal

Lynch, C.

54 of 1977

Jamaica Telephone Co. Ltd.
and
National Workers Union

Labour law - Collective agreement — Wage increases.

Labour law - Collective agreement — Improved fringe benefits.

JUDGMENT:
1

By letter dated 23 rd November, 1977, the honourable Minister of Labour, in accordance with section 11 of the Labour Relations and Industrial Act, 1975, referred to the Industrial Disputes Tribunal for settlement, the dispute between the company and the trade union.

2

The terms of reference to the tribunal were as follows:–

“To determine and settle the dispute between Jamaica Telephone Company Limited on the one hand and certain categories of workers employed by the company and represented by the National Workers Union on the other hand, over claim served on the company by the union for increased wages and improved fringe benefits on behalf of the said workers.”

3

The division of the tribunal selected in accordance with Section 8(2) of the Act was–

Mr. Basil Lynch — Chairman

Mr. Owen Plant — Employers' Representative

Mr. Dorrel White — Workers Representative

4

The company was represented by

Mr. Edward Ashenheim (legal)

Mr. Neville Johnson

Mr. C. Chantrielle

Mr. G. Baker

Mr. R. Cunningham

5

The trade union represented by

Sen. Carlyle Dunkley

Mr. Lawrence Jackson

Several Worker/Delegates

6

Submissions and Sittings

7

The parties submitted written briefs and oral submissions made at eleven (11) sittings which were held between the 23rd of January, 1978 and the 8th of March, 1978.

8

The company and the union are parties to a collective labour agreement for 2 years which expired in part on 31st March 1977 and by letters dated 21st April and 27th June 1977, the union served a 41-point claim on the company for amendments to the said agreement including ‘inter alia’ proposals for increased wages and improved conditions of service — a copy of the union’ s claim is attached and marked Appendix ‘A’.

9

The company also submitted to the union certain proposals amending the collective labour agreement — these proposals in summary form are attached. and marked Appendix ‘B’.

10

During local level discussions, agreement was reached between the parties as follows;

11

The Union's Claim:-Claims Nos. 1(a)and (b), 2(a), (b) (d),4,5,6,7 (a) (b), 10,14 (a) and (b), 17,19 (a), 22,23,24,25,29,32,34 and 36 were agreed. Claims Nos. 18,26 (a) and (b),30,33,40 and 41 were withdrawn leaving the remainder, Nos. 1(c),2(c),3,8,9,11,12,13,15,16, 19(b), 20,21,27,28,31,35,37,38 and 39 for determination by the tribunal. The company's proposals: — proposals 1.1.1.,8,9,15.4,16.1.1. (g) 17 1.5, 17.1.6, 17.3.2, 17.4. were agreed leaving the remainder nos. 16.3.4 16.4.4, 16.5.4, 17.2.1, and 21 (a) — (d) for determination by the tribunal. Copies of memoranda (2) of agreement between the company and the union are attached and marked Appendix “C” and Appendix “D”.

12

During the hearings the company indicated that its financial position had deteriorated considerably during last year as a result of (a) introduction of the telephone tax in February 1977, (b) devaluation of the Jamaican. dollar and (c) deferment of the rate increase which should have been effective 1st April 1977.

13

The company also indicated that in order to ameliorate the position it intended to –

  • (i) seek to revalue its fixed assets which would improve its existing debt/equity ratio and place it in a better position vis a vis its obligations to present creditors and future borrowing capabilities;

  • (ii) seek to renegotiate existing term loan repayment schedules; and

  • (iii) request the Government to convert to telephone rate the telephone tax on domestic services.

14

The tribunal has taken note that since the conclusion of the hearings, an effective rate increase has been granted to the company by way of converting the 35% tax on domestic calls.

15

Award

16

The following award of the tribunal on the respective items, l unless otherwise stated shall be effective 1st April, 1977 and shall be in force until 31st March, 1979.

17

The Union's Claim

Item 1(c) Increments:–

The Tribunal makes no award.

Item 2(c) — Laundry Cleaning Allowance:–

The Tribunal awards an allowance of $2.00 per week to garage staff only

Item 3(a) Vacation Leave–

The Tribunal awards as follows –

1- 5 years — 2 weeks over 5 — 10 years — 3 weeks over 10 — 15 years — 4 weeks over 15 years — 5 weeks

Item 3(b)- Casual Workers

The Tribunal makes no award.

Item 8- Overtime Payments

  • (a) Public Holidays — The Tribunal awards payments at the rate of 2 1/2 times basic rate for the first 8 hours and payment at the rate of 3 times the basic rate for all hours worked thereafter.

  • (b) other overtime)

  • (The Tribunal makes no award.

  • (c) Shift workers)

Item 9 — Extra Payments: — The Tribunal makes no award.

Item 11 — In-charge allowance:–

The Tribunal makes no award.

Item 12 — Out of Base and Settling Down Allowances

The Tribunal awards an increase from $18.00 per day to $25.00 per day effective from the date of this award.

Item 13 — Meal Allowance –

  • (a) The Tribunal awards an increase from $2.75 to $3.75 with effect from the date of this award.

Item 13(b) 1 and 4:–

The Tribunal awards payment of a meal allowance to employees required to work 2 hours before or after their usual hours of work — this award is applicable also to workers on call out duty and shall be effective from the date of this award.

Item 13 (b) 2 and 3:–

The Tribunal makes no award.

Item 15 — Driving Allowance:–

  • (a) The Tribunal awards an increase in the existing rates of $15.00, $18.00 and $30.00 per week to $18.00, $21 00 and $35.00 per week respectively.

  • (b) The Tribunal makes no award.

  • (c) The Tribunal awards an increase in the existing rates of $2.00 and $4.00 per week t o $3.00 and $5.00 per week respectively.

Item 16 — Upkeep Allowance:

The Tribunal makes no award.

Item 19 (b) — Height Pay:–

The Tribunal awards an increase in height pay as follows:–

  • (i) between 30 feet and 60 feet:- from 9 cents an hour to 12 cents per hour;

  • (ii) for each additional 30 feet:- from 7 cents an hour to 9 cents per hour.

Item 20 — Transportation:–

The Tribunal makes no award.

Item 21- Safe Driving Award:–

The Tribunal makes no award.

Item 27-Severance Pay:–

The Tribunal awards payment of Severance as follows: 1 — 10 years — 2 weeks

over 10 to 15 years — 3 weeks

over 15 years — 4 weeks

Item 28 — Death Benefit–

The Tribunal makes no award.

Item 31 — Wage Increases; –

The, Tribunal awards an across-the-board increase of $22.00 per week,

Item 35 — Leave:

The parties agreed that clause 17, 3,4, of the existing event should be amended by the deletion of the words “nature of the” appearing in the 2nd line thereof — the Tribunal makes no award.

Item 37 — Out of Base Escort

The Tribunal makes no award.

Item 38 — Reporting Pay –

The Tribunal makes no award.

Item 39 — Boundaries for payment of Meal Allowance:–

The Tribunal makes no award.

18

The Company's Proposals

16.3.4)

16.4.4) The Tribunal makes no award

16.5.4)

17.2.1 The Tribunal makes no award.

21(a)-(d) — The Tribunal makes no award.

19

Appendix “A”

20

National Workers Union of Jamaica

21

130-132 East Street

22

Kingston, Jamaica

23

21st April, 1977

Mr. N. Johnson,

Director,

Industrial Relations,

Jamaica Telephone Co. Ltd.,

Imperial Life Building,

New Kingston,

Kingston 5.

Dear Sir,

We are hereby submitting claims on behalf of the unionised workers of your operations to enable them to enjoy a better life socially and financially.

1. Promotions and related Matters:

  • (a) A system of appraisal once every year to be introduced. This is to be done in the presence of the employee and completed form must be seen and signed by the individual involved.

  • (b) A detailed job description for every grade and a copy to be given to every worker. Union to monitor and have a say in promotion. Promotions to be effective from date recommended if approved. Promotions not be affected as a result of minor offences.

  • (c) Introduction of increments where employees have reached the highest unionised grades.

2. (a) Uniforms for all employees.

  • (b) Additional uniforms for garage staff — 5 pants, 7 shirts and 3 overalls.

    ...

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