INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Dispute concerning the filling of a Grade 6 post.
2. The Grade 6 post in the Staff Development Unit at Head Office has been vacant since 1993. It was originally advertised in February, 1991 following a reorganisation at Head Office and was filled by a staff member without a post in the new structures. In January, 1993 the Grade 6 postholder was transferred to a Grade 6 post in the Dublin north region. The Grade 6 post in Staff Development was left vacant. The Union claims that FAS is in breach of agreements in not filling this post. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held in November, 1996. Agreement was not possible and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 25th November, 1996. A Court hearing was held on the 30th January, 1997.
3. 1. The transfer of the Grade 6 postholder to the North region lead to a dispute which was resolved in March, 1993. It was agreed that the worker would transfer to the new position for 12 months and his post in Staff Development would be held open by advertising a 12 month staff development opportunity. There were a number of applications for the post but, to the Union's knowledge, no interviews were held and nobody was appointed to the post.
2. The Union has endeavoured at various stages (without success) to have the development post filled and then to get the vacant post filled when it became obvious that the postholder was not returning to his post in staff development. Management did not advise the Union that the Grade 6 postholder was not returning to his post.
3. The Union rejects Management's contention that the Grade 6 post in Staff Development no longer existed because of the changes in structures which occurred. FAS has breached the undertakings it gave to the Union in relation to the filling of the post. The Grade 6 post in Staff Development should be advertised and filled without further delay.
4. 1. When the Grade 6 postholder (a Management Development Specialist) was transferred permanently, it was Management's intention to appoint a replacement and the post was advertised as a one year development opportunity in 1993. However, the competition was not proceeded with and the process was put on hold. FAS wished to keep the situation under review. Eventually Management decided that the post would not be filled on the basis that another Management Development Specialist (Grade 6) was not required because of ongoing organisational changes.
2. The non-filling of the Grade 6 post at Head Office does not mean that a Grade 6 post has been lost to the organisation. FAS has an authorised establishment of 75 Grade 6 posts. Currently it has in excess of that number. The staffing level agreed with the Union for Head Office was 27. As of 1st January 1997 there was a total of 32 staff serving at Grade 6 in Head Office. The excess numbers result from a small number of special temporary appointments and staff returning from leave of absence etc..
3. FAS is committed to retaining its authorised establishment of Grade 6 posts. However, it must be responsive to new programmes and Government initiatives. Management must be responsive to these demands and has always advised the Union that, based on organisational requirements from time to time, posts would be allocated from one area of operation to another.
4. While this particular post has not been filled, the actual number of Grade 6 posts allocated to Head Office has been maintained and with actual numbers at present in excess of the approved allocation.
The written and oral submissions of the parties were considered by the Court.
It is the view of the Court that an agreement exists which sets out a staffing structure for FAS Head Office and that management altered that structure without proper consultation with the Union. This action, the Court holds, is not conducive to good industrial relations practice.
The Court, however, notes that, according to Management, the actual number of permanent Grade 6 posts in Head Office (27) is in line with the said agreement. If this is so then the only issue between the parties is the allocation of those posts.
The Court recommends, therefore, that the parties meet to discuss and agree where the Grade 6 posts in Head Office should be allocated in the best interests of the organisation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
6th February, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.