The Labour Court has recommended a pay increase of 2.25% for 5,000 workers at Penneys.
However, the recommended pay increase falls short of the 3.4% increase that the Mandate union was seeking on behalf of its members at the retail company.
In the recommendation, the Labour Court has back-dated the pay award to January of this year.
Commenting on the Labour Court recommendation, Mandate’s assistant general secretary Gerry Light said: “It is what it is. The recommendation doesn’t meet the claim that we made. That is a fact.”
Mr Light said that the recommendation is to go before a shop stewards’ meeting on November 20, and they will make a recommendation to members to accept or reject the proposed 2.25% pay increase.
Mr Light said that a ballot of members will take place shortly after the shop stewards meeting and he said that he hopes that a result will be available before Christmas.
In its claim, Mandate stated that the 3.4% pay claim is broken down into two areas — 2% for cost of living and 1.4% in lieu of productivity gains.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and the claim was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
Penneys told the Labour Court that it has better wage rates than others in the sector and that it also provides a comprehensive package of benefits for employees.
The company said that it currently has a five-point market leading pay scale in place. Mr Light said that Penneys is a very successful retailer.
He also said that “generally, Mandate has very good industrial relations with Penneys and they very much set the standard for others in the retail sector.”
Mr Light said that the ink will be hardly dry on the current agreement before Mandate will be in again to Penneys for a fresh pay increase for its members in 2020.