INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH FEDERATION OF UNIVERSITY TEACHERS
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
2. The dispute concerns a worker who has been employed as an Assistant Careers and Appointments Officer (ACAO) since 1974. She is presently at the maximum of the Administrative Officer salary scale. On a number of occasions over the years the worker has sought regrading to Senior Administrative Officer Grade-SA(IV). Her post was reviewed by the Grading Committee but it was decided that the post would not be upgraded. The worker subsequently appealed the decision to the Appeals Committee but her appeal failed. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 27th November, 1995. Agreement was not possible and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 18th February, 1997. A Court hearing was held on the 18th April, 1997.
3. 1. When the worker was appointed in 1974 she was given to understand by Management that she would move onto the SA(IV) scale in due course. At the least, she should have moved from the maximum of the AO scale in 1983 to SA(IV). This meant she would have been treated in like manner to her predecessor and to her then contemporary colleagues in that post. She has, therefore, been out of line for almost 14 years.
2. The College is the largest in the State, with virtually the lowest careers advisory student ratio. The worker is on the lowest salary in this spectrum for the grade concerned. She is now three grades below her immediate supervisor. Her salary is £3,000 behind the maximum for a Career Guidance Officer at secondary level in relation to the basic scale there, before any additions for extra qualifications.
3. The duties and responsibilities of the worker's post and the workload have increased considerably since 1974. She was also acting CAO for a period in 1991 and from 1990 to 1994 she was the sole ACAO in UCD.
4. The previous and present Head of Department are of the view that the worker should be on the SA(IV) scale.
5. The worker experienced protracted delays in having her claims adjudicated upon, particularly those of job evaluation which were supposed to adequately address the issue.
6. It has never been explained to the worker why she has not been promoted, in contrast to other ACAOs at the College. The quality and quantity of her responsibilities have not been fully taken into account by the sub-committees, as they were more oriented towards a quantitative administrative operation, whereas the worker's strengths lie in a more qualitative type service, not easily measured.
4. 1. When the Grading Committee issued its findings a number of administrative staff were upgraded, a very small number were downgraded, but post-holders were red-circled. The vast majority of posts, including that of the claimant, were not regraded. The Joint Evaluation Scheme's agreed terms of reference was to look at internal gradings when evaluating jobs. The worker accepted those terms of reference when she applied to have her post evaluated.
2. The Grading and Appeals Committees are independent bodies that have arrived at their decisions in accordance with their terms of reference and only after considering detailed submissions on each of the grading claims. It would be wrong to interfere with these decisions except where the Court was satisfied that some procedural irregularity prevented the Committees from coming to a fair decision.
3. The College is satisfied that the Committee carried out a full and diligent decision enquiring into all the claims. Having accepted the Committees' decisions were correct, reasonable, and responsible the College has, in accordance with the Scheme's terms of reference, accepted all of the decisions and implemented them.
4. If the worker feels that there has been a substantial change in her duties, she has the right to have her grading claim re-evaluated one year after the appeal date.
The Court has considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties in this case.
The Court notes the existence of an Independent Grading Committee with an inbuilt appeals mechanism. The Court considers it would be wrong to interfere with the decision of this Committee unless there was some irregularity which had prevented the Committee from making a fair decision. There is no evidence of any irregularity.
The Court also notes that a new grade has been introduced above A.I. level and that assessments have yet to be made by the Grading Committee for existing jobs in this new grade. The Court recommends that the Grading Committee should, as a matter of urgency, assess the claimant's job for that grade.
In addition it is open to the claimant after 21st October next to appeal the original assessment in the event of changes in the claimant's work.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th April, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.