The Labour Court has recommended that workers at Irish Cement receive a pay increase of 2% in spite of the company claiming that domestic demand is only 30% of what it was in 2007.
Workers at the CRH subsidiary were seeking an 11% pay increase having been hit hard by the recession. Pay rates at the firm were frozen between 2010 and 2012 and in 2012 and 2013 there was a 6% reduction in pay and a further 6% reduction in 2014.
The 2014 agreement provided for pay rates to be restored to January 2019. However, the firm was resisting claims by Siptu, Unite, and the TEEU for a restoration of the 6% pay reduction now and a 5% increase going forward.
The firm told the Labour Court that the recovery in the domestic market has been extremely slow and that domestic demand is still only at 30% of 2007 production rates. The company also pointed out that the export market accounts for over 45% of current production and that “this is an extremely competitive market with low margins”.
The firm told the Labour Court that “the joint agreement to 2019 is essential to the company’s competitiveness”.
The unions also stated that the company “is a business unit of CRH which has recorded significant profits in 2014 and 2015”.
In its recommendation, the Labour Court stated that there is some merit in the unions’ claim for an increase in pay and that workers be awarded a 2% pay increase from January of this year.
However, the court found that the trading position of the company does not justify an acceleration of the agreed rate at which the pay cuts agreed in 2014 should be reversed.
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