INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
1. Independent pay study.
2. In May, 1994 the Union requested the Rehab Group's agreement to undertake an independent study of pay scales and job descriptions within the Group, with a view to establishing a pay structure which would be comparable with external comparators. The Group refused to enter into discussions on what they perceived was a cost increasing claim, which was precluded under the terms of the Programme for Competitiveness and Work (PCW).
On 30th June, 1995 a conciliation conference was held under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission to ascertain whether the claim was appropriate in the context of the PCW. The Industrial Relations Officer advised the parties that the claim for a pay study was not precluded under the terms of the PCW and a conciliation conference concerning the study was held on 25th January, 1996. As it was not possible to reach agreement, the Union requested referral to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Group agreed to the referral and a Labour Court hearing took place on 16th July, 1996, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. There is no evidence that any of the existing pay scales were established following any kind of scientific assessment of job worth. Twenty-three different categories of pay rates apply to the 370 workers represented by this Union. Instructors can be in any one of five different pay categories and have annual leave entitlements ranging from 23 to 37 days per year. Other categories have 21 days annual leave.
2. Management has consistently refused to provide insight into how pay scales are justified, what items are evaluated in deciding allocation of grades, how differentials are decided upon and what are the essential characteristics of different categories who are paid more or less than others. The Union does not have the resources to carry out the pay study without the Group's co-operation.
3. In addition to the workers' dissatisfaction with the internal pay structure, there is also a great deal of discontent when rates are compared with those of external comparators such as FAS and CERT. If an independent, impartial study finds the current pay scales invalid, the Union will not breach the terms of the PCW but may lodge a pay claim following its expiry.
4. 1. The Union's claim is in fact a pay claim and, as such, it is precluded by the terms of the PCW. If the Union wishes to conduct a pay study, it is capable of doing so without the Group's involvement. The Union is familiar with all the rates in operation and all related information on pay scales is available.
2. All rates of pay and pay scales have been negotiated with the Union over the years and have always been increased in line with the terms of National Pay Agreements. It is difficult to understand the request for a pay study when, as recently as 1995, pay rates were negotiated with the Union.
3. It is unreasonable to compare a private, voluntary, not-for-profit organisation with a semi-state Government sponsored and funded training body, such as FAS. The undertaking of a pay study would imply a commitment to increase rates of pay, which the Group is unable to do, and would unfairly heighten the expectations of staff.
On the basis of the evidence before it, the Court has concluded that there are anomalies in the pay and conditions of the claimants. The Court, accordingly, recommends that the parties agree to set up a Union/Company working party to examine the internal relativities in the Institute and to recommend on how these anomalies can be eliminated. Both parties accept that this elimination, if it involves pay increases, can only be dealt with in the context of National Agreements.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
2nd August, 1996______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.