INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Brennan
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Appeal by the Union against Rights Commissioner's recommendation No. BC322/95.
2. The appeal concerns a worker who commenced employment as a general operative in May, 1981. He is based at Kilkenny Barracks. From March 1987 he was in receipt of a fixed weekly allowance for the performance of certain duties in the post of BFW clerk. From February, 1989 he acted up in a full-time capacity into a Storeman B2 post which became vacant on the retirement of the incumbent. In 1990 the Department decided to abolish the posts of Storeman B2 and BFW clerk and merge these posts into a newly- created post of Storekeeper Clerk. The worker concerned was appointed to this post with effect from 29th August, 1990. The position carried the same rate of pay as the post of Storeman B2. All allowances paid in respect of BFW and of acting up in the B2 post ceased. The weekly rate of pay for the new post was the same as the weekly rate for the old one (including acting and BFW allowances).
In 1994 a new grading and pay structure was implemented for stores staff under which the former system of nine store grades was rationalised to four grades. The claimant's post was regraded as Storekeeper Grade 2 with effect from 1st January, 1993. He was assimilated onto the new Storekeeper Grade 2 incremental scale (point 8) and went on to point 9 in January, 1994. He achieved the scale maximum on 1st January, 1996.
The Union claimed that the worker's rate of pay as a Storekeeper Clerk (old Grade) had not kept pace with the old Storeman B2 rate during the period 1990-1993 and
that he had not been given sufficient credit for service when the new grading structure for stores staffs was implemented in 1994. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On the 31st May, 1996 the Rights Commissioner issued his recommendation as follows:-
"In light of the above I must hold that the claim must fail".
On the 20th June, 1996 the Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court. The Court heard the appeal in Kilkenny on the 11th February, 1997.
3. 1. The Department eliminated the posts of Storeman B and BFW Clerk at Kilkenny Barracks without the agreement of the Union. The Storeman B post was eliminated for pay purposes on the retirement of the postholder thus effecting a saving to the Department. When the claimant was appointed to the new post of Storekeeper Clerk he undertook additional duties (Details to the Court). He did not receive any additional pay or allowance for the extra work.
2. The worker understood that he would receive a further increase in pay over and above the Storeman B grade. This fact was highlighted when a claim in respect of similar grades was resolved nationally with the creation of the new grade of Storekeeper/Clerk. This grade would perform all the tasks which the claimant carried out since 1990 but with a higher rate of pay. The Union does not dispute the retrospection payment from January 1993; however, the claimant is entitled to the payment of the nationally agreed rate retrospective from 1st August, 1990 to 1st January, 1993.
4. 1. If the reorganisation had not taken place the worker's present rate of pay would have been approximately £208 p.w. on the basis of applying the standard national pay rounds to his former 'single point' pay as a Storeman Clerk. This is £43 p.w. less than his current pay.
2. When the worker was appointed to the old grade of Storekeeper Clerk in 1990 he was paid the full weekly rate of pay for that designated grade. He indicated his acceptance of promotion to the post in writing on the 29th August, 1990. His rate of pay as a Storekeeper Clerk was, at all times, absolutely identical with the rate of pay for the old Storeman B2 Grade.
3. On the implementation of the restructuring agreement in June, 1994 retrospective to January, 1993 the worker's service as a Storekeeper Clerk was 2 years 4 months as of 1st January, 1993. On assimilation to the new grade of Storekeeper Clerk Grade 2 he was placed on the 8th point of the new scale with effect from 1st January, 1993 and reached the maximum of the scale in a relatively short period.
4. The worker sustained no financial loss on his acceptance of promotion to the old grade of Storekeeper Clerk in August, 1990. On implementation of the new grading structure (retrospective to January, 1993) the worker was given full credit for his period of service as a Storekeeper Clerk up to 1st January, 1993 in terms of assimilation onto the new scale and was given due recognition by movement along that scale thereafter.
Having examined the details submitted by the parties the Court is satisfied that the Rights Commissioner's recommendation is correct in the circumstances and accordingly the Court rejects the appeal and so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24 February, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.