UPS pay dispute set for WRC hearing

Union seeking 6% pay rise from parcel delivery group for drivers and warehouse staff

UPS confirmed that a WRC meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.  Photograph: iStock

UPS confirmed that a WRC meeting is scheduled for Wednesday. Photograph: iStock

 

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) will on Wednesday conduct a hearing on a dispute between US package delivery company UPS and some of its workers in the Republic.

Represented by the Communication Workers Union (CWU), drivers and warehouse staff at the company had sought a 6 per cent pay rise which would have been backdated to April 1st this year.

But UPS offered a sum understood to be 2 per cent which was subsequently rejected by the vast majority of union-represented workers. A ballot for industrial action followed and 89 out of 104 staff who voted wanted to go on strike.

Cormac Ó Dálaigh, national officer with the CWU, said UPS historically gave pay rises to staff based on merit but that that system was unsatisfactory because there could be a considerable gulf in what staff doing the same job earned.

The company subsequently introduced a pay scale, he said, which staff would rise up. Mr Ó Dálaigh suggested that salaries for the drivers and warehouse workers range from €24,000 to about €33,000.

Negotiating rights

The CWU secured negotiating rights on pay this year but they don’t have negotiation rights on pay for clerical-grade staff. The union’s roughly 140 UPS members operate in Dublin, Cork and Shannon and work directly for UPS.

“We didn’t fall out and we got some other business done but from a pay point of view we haven’t made any progress,” Mr Ó Dálaigh said of talks which have gone on until now.

Notice of strike was ultimately served on the company but withdrawn to allow a WRC hearing to take place.

UPS confirmed that a WRC meeting is scheduled for Wednesday. “We remain hopeful that a mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached,” a company spokesman said.

“Please understand that these discussions are ongoing and we will not discuss any details in public,” he added.

Accounts for the local arm of UPS relating to 2018, the most recent year for which figures are available, show that the business posted a €56.4 million turnover in the year and recorded €1.3 million in profit before tax.

The company, ultimately owned by New York-listed UPS, employed 340 staff in the period.