Siptu has fallen short in its bid for a 12.5 per cent pay increase for 300 workers over two years at Pfizer’s Irish manufacturing centre for Viagra at Ringaskiddy in Cork.
This follows the Labour Court recommending that the 300 operatives at Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals instead receive an 8.5 per cent pay increase over two years backdated to September last.
Pfizer’s Ringaskiddy plant is the firm’s largest production facility outside the US and along with producing the active pharmaceutical ingredient for erectile dysfunction drug, Viagra, 17 other products are produced at the plant.
Strong financial performance
In support of its claim at the Labour Court, Siptu cited Pfizer’s “exceptionally strong financial performance over recent years and also the current high rate of inflation in the economy”.
However, Siptu did acknowledge that the rate of increase in pay it was seeking was “over and above what has been achieved in the sector to date”.
In response, Pfizer offered a total pay increase of 7 per cent over the two years, front-loaded at 4.5 per cent for the first year, followed by 2.5 per cent for the second year.
Pfizer submitted that Siptu’s request for a total pay increase of 12.5 per cent over two years is out of line with pay agreements achieved elsewhere in the industry.
Pfizer also referred to a once-off tax-free gift voucher of €1,000 given by the company to all workers in February 2023.
Pfizer argued that the €1,000 tax-free gift voucher when grossed up is equivalent to almost 2 per cent of pay for most of the workers encompassed by the pay claim.
Both Siptu and Pfizer referred to an agreement for a 9 per cent pay increase over twenty months negotiated in a named comparator company.
However, Pfizer’s representative told the Labour Court that the 9pc pay increase included a 2 per cent increase that the parent entity had sanctioned on a worldwide basis to counter the cost-of-living increases that followed on the Ukraine situation.
On behalf of the three member court, deputy chairman, Alan Haugh has recommended a 8.5 per cent increase with 4.5 per cent increase back-dated to September 2022 and the remaining 4pc increase to take effect from September next.
Mr Haugh said that the court took into account the pay agreement achieved in the named comparator organisation and the once-off voucher payment made to Pfizer workers in February 2023.
Siptu Sector Organiser in the Pharma, Chemical and Medical Devices sector, Neil McGowan said on Thursday that Siptu shop stewards will agree on a recommendation to members on the Labour Court outcome with a ballot due to take place in September.
The dispute came before the Labour Court as agreement could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission.