INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
REGIONAL TECHNICAL COLLEGES
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Pay Structure.
2. The claim by the Union is on behalf of 18 members who are employed by the Regional Technical Colleges (RTCs) and are seeking a pay structure in line with directors of RTCs. There are 2 grades involved - 9 registrars and 9 secretary/financial controllers. The claim is retrospective from 1st January, 1993.
The RTCs (12 in total) were established as autonomous institutes on the 1st January, 1993, under the terms of the RTC Act, 1992. Prior to this, the Department of Education commissioned the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) to undertake a study of the colleges. The IPA reported in February, 1993 and recommended a new staffing structure, including posts for the 2 grades involved. The report recommended that the posts should be at senior lecturer 2 (SL2) level. The report was accepted and implemented by the Department. The posts were advertised in June, 1993.
The Union's claim is that there should be an established link between college directors and the 2 grades, with a salary level for the 2 grades of 90% of director's salary. The final salary level for the two grades should be fixed at a level above the highest salary scale for SL2.
The present salary scale for the two grades is a 7 point one, from £35,856 - £44,144. There are 2 salary scales for directors, depending on the size of the college - £61,862 and £54,799. Each is a one-point scale. The directors' salaries are to be reviewed under Gleeson/Buckley.
The Department of Education's response to the claim is that, technically, it could not be dealt with under the terms of the Programme for Competitiveness and Work (PCW) as it was not an outstanding claim under the Programme for Economic and Social Progress (PESP) Clause 2(iii) of Annex 1. However, the Department agreed that, as the posts were newly created, the claim could be processed under the PCW, which meant a pay increase of no more than 3%. The Union was not agreeable to a restriction of 3% and the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference took place on the 10th April, 1997. As the parties did not reach agreement the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 12th May, 1997 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 22nd July, 1997.
3. 1. Prior to the implementation of the RTC Act, 1992, the RTCs were under the direction of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the local Vocational Educational Committee (VEC) and the college principal. The CEO was responsible for college budgets, appointments, statutory audits, legal affairs etc. The college principal was responsible for student admissions, examinations, timetable administration and teaching programmes, as well as the day to day running of the College. Under the RTC Act, 1992, the responsibilities of the college principal have now been transferred to the registrar and the duties of the CEO are now those of the secretary/financial controller. (A full description of the duties and responsibilities of the two grades was supplied to the Court).
2. The claim should not be assessed under the terms of the PCW as the workers concerned occupy new posts. There has never been an agreed remuneration package between the Department of Education and the Union in respect of the posts. The workers undertook their new posts on the understanding that there would be a major review of their pay scale within a short time. It is now 4 years since the posts were established and still no review. The workers' salaries have not increased, they have more responsibilities and less holidays. There is an expected 47.6% increase in student numbers in RTCs in the next 10 years. The workers concerned deserve to be rewarded.
4. 1. It is not possible to address the claim as presented within the terms of the PCW, given that the claim involves increases of 11%. The PCW will only allow for increases of 3%. The pay scales which exist now had been approved by the Department of Education, taking into account the IPA Report of 1993. There was no official understanding from the Department of Education that pay scales would be reviewed. The salary scales were specifically included when the posts were created.
2. It is not true, as claimed by the Union, that all similar posts in other educational institutions are paid at a higher rate than the two grades concerned. The rates of pay for the grades are related to the duties and responsibilities of the posts and can vary from institution to institution. The rates of pay for the new posts were set in the knowledge that the full range of responsibilities would be developed by the new post holders over a period of time. It was to be expected that changes would occur since the appointments. Conditions of employment do not transfer between jobs.
3. If the claim was processed outside the framework of the PCW it could cause problems with other college grades who are in the process of negotiating agreements within the terms of the PCW.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
The Court believes that the examiners who produced the IPA report should be asked to assess whether the salary set out in their report for the Registrar/Financial Controllers is correct, given current role and responsibilities of the post holders.
The submissions made to the Court by the parties should be made available to the assessor.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31st July, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.