asked the Minister for Economic Planning and Development if any Government attitude was conveyed by him to the management, unions, chairman or mediators during or after the negotiations of the commercial banking productivity settlement; and if he will now state these views.
Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Bonus Productivity Settlement .
: Following the conclusion of the recent productivity scheme between the Irish Banks' Staff Relations Committee and the Irish Bank Officials' Association, the parties submitted the scheme to the Employer-Labour Conference for confirmation that the terms complied with the requirements of the national pay agreement. The Steering Committee of the Employer-Labour Conference felt that they had no function in this regard. I invited the parties to supply such information as would be necessary to determine whether or not the terms complied with the national pay agreement. Both parties were satisfied that the scheme complied fully with the criteria set out in the national pay agreement, and this was confirmed by the Chairman of the Banks' Joint Industrial Council.
The Government are most concerned that individual pay settlements should be in accordance with the terms of the national pay agreement. If excessive settlements are allowed, then the whole effort to generate greater employment will suffer a setback. At the same time the Government recognise the desirability of allowing individual negotiations to proceed on a voluntary basis.
: While accepting that the Steering Committee of the Employer-Labour Conference felt they had no function in the matter, was there any decision by the Government as to whether in their opinion the terms conformed with the national pay agreement?
: Yes and I think my reply indicates that. The parties were invited to supply such information as would be necessary and they did so.
: What decision did the Minister then reach as to whether the terms conformed with the national pay agreement?
: I was satisfied that they had complied with the terms set out in the agreement and I conveyed that view to the Government.
: The Minister was satisfied that they were in conformity with the 1978 national pay agreement?
: In so far as could be established on the basis of information supplied and also confirmed by the chairman who was an independent chairman.
: In view of the fact that the Steering Committee of the Employer-Labour Conference felt they had no function in the matter and because the information was supplied by the parties concerned direct to the Minister, would it be possible for the terms of the productivity agreement to be tabled in the Library for the perusal of Members of this House?
: I would not like to make such a commitment offhand. The point was made by the two parties that there was no requirement on their part to supply the information. They agreed to supply it on an informal basis without prejudice, if I may call it that, to their position under the agreement. The question arises in regard to every set of negotiations that are in compliance with the terms of the agreement and that call for local bargaining whether we are to establish a mechanism under which every case would be vetted independently of the Employer-Labour Conference. Certainly it would not be appropriate for the Government or my Department to contemplate acting as an alternative to the Employer-Labour Conference. In this instance on an ad hoc basis the parties went through a procedure for which there was no requirement but since this was one of the earlier examples of such local bargaining I felt it appropriate that we should be fully informed of the situation.