INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
THE HONOURABLE SOCIETY OF KING'S INNS
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation No. CW231/96.
2. The worker concerned has been employed as a Bench Steward since October, 1989. In mid-1996 he sought a review of his salary and suggested that the grade of Court Usher would be an appropriate comparator. His claim was the subject of a Rights Commissioner's investigation on the 1st November, 1996 and the 8th January, 1997. The Rights Commissioner did not accept that Court Usher was a reasonable comparator and recommended as follows:-
"I recommend that the Society offers and (the worker) accepts a weekly rate of pay of £206.98 (a)"
"(a) This rate is that of a Services Officer in the general services grades
of the Civil Service. It is the bottom point of the scale and should
not be considered incremental except for general increases which
apply to all Civil Service posts ......."
(The worker was named in the Recommendation).
On the 13th March, 1997 the Society appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal on the 28th May, 1997, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Union was disappointed that the Rights Commissioner did not accept Court Usher as a reasonable comparator, but has nevertheless accepted his Recommendation.
2. The worker's already extensive duties and responsibilities (details supplied to the Court) merit a payment in excess of his current salary. Since the Rights Commissioner's investigation the Society has proposed unacceptable changes to the worker's role which would involve additional duties and longer working hours.
4. 1. Since 1990 the worker concerned has received an annual pay increase of 4% in line with that received by management and all other staff. This is well in excess of national pay agreements. The Rights Commissioner's Recommendation of a further increase of 12% is at variance with government guidelines.
2. An increase of 12% would be discriminatory to other staff and is unjustifiable. The Society is a small, privately-run enterprise and concession of the worker's claim could lead to consequential claims from other staff.
3. Under present working arrangements there is no productivity basis for awarding an increase in salary. The worker and the Union should enter into meaningful negotiations about the best structure for his job with a view to implementing the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation by means of productivity changes that are self-financing.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions, finds no reason to change the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation.
The Court, therefore, upholds the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation and rejects the appeal.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th June, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.