INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGrath
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation No. 426/96.
2. The appeal concerns one worker who has 31 years service with the Company and who has been employed as a Station Control Officer (Grade 2) since 1982.
He claims that he has been unfairly treated in relation to promotional procedures and consequently has failed to gain promotion to Grade 1, since 1983. The Company's position is that the worker has always received the same consideration as any other employee in relation to promotion. The dispute was the subject of a Rights Commissioner's investigation in September, 1996, which was adjourned to allow for formal negotiations to take place between the parties. Agreement was not reached and following the resumption of the investigation the Rights Commissioner found that the worker's complaint stemmed from the fact that he had stagnated in the same grade for some 14 years and that his frustration had increased due to his failure to gain promotion, a situation no different to hundreds of other similar cases in the public service. He found, further, that there was no concrete evidence, whatsoever, to justify the charge that the worker was treated any less favourably than any of his colleagues. In finding no substantive grounds for the worker's claim the Rights Commissioner recommended that it should fail. He added that, in the interests of both parties, the worker should avail himself of the optional feedback relative to his last application and that he should not be deterred from pursuing promotion in the future as a result of his (the Rights Commissioner's) findings. He also suggested that the Company should seriously consider such an application on the basis of its own promotional criteria, i.e., "Where all things are equal between candidates, the Company will have due regard to the seniority factor".
The Union appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation, on the 3rd of March, 1997, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal on the 22nd of May, 1997.
3. 1. The worker has 31 years' service and has shown himself to have an outstanding work record that reflects loyalty and a positive and determined attitude to his work.
2. At the time the worker was employed in the U.S.A. (details supplied to the Court) he was more than qualified to work in a responsible way and in a senior capacity that would equate to a Grade 1 position in Ireland. His ability and experience qualify him to become a successful candidate for a Grade 1 position and he has found it soul-destroying and insulting to have been subjected to a discriminatory selection procedure for promotion.
3. During the period this matter has been dealt with through procedures, the worker has continued to feel that his good service and work record are considered worthless by the Company. These feelings have been fostered by the Company's attitude to him.
4. The Union is not challenging the Company's right to select the best person for promotion. However, this worker has been a casualty of poor selection procedures and is now seeking to redress the situation.
5. The worker has trained numerous members of staff some of whom are now operating at Grade 1 level.
6. The area of staff assessments has been greatly neglected. It is reasonable for workers to assume they are performing satisfactorily unless advised otherwise. The worker's superiors have never been asked to carry out assessments of him.
4. 1. The fact that the worker has failed to achieve promotion is not due to any lack of promotional opportunities. In the last 3 years, there have been over 600 clerical promotions throughout the grades, out of a workforce of about 1000.
2. The worker has failed to secure promotion due to his own shortcomings and his showing at interview, in a highly competitive environment. While he continues to turn out the required amount of work, he is clearly not a "team player". Moreover, he continues to dwell on issues of the past which the Company no longer deems relevant.
3. Appraisals were not carried out over the years due to Union objections to them. When an attempt was made to appraise the worker, he objected and the appraisal was not signed nor did it go on record.
4. In order to alleviate the worker's fears in regard to the composition of the interview panel for acting Grade 1 positions for the Summer, the Company took the unprecedented step of putting in place a completely different interview panel. However, the worker decided not to apply for that promotion, thus automatically ruling himself out of consideration.
The Court has fully considered all of the issues raised by the parties in their oral and written submissions.
The Court has taken into account the assessments made in the past of the employee here concerned together with the most recent views expressed and also the service of the worker.
The view of the Court is that there could have been a greater degree of liaison between the management and the employee when information could have been made available which would have assisted him in relation to his application for promotion and the Court considers the Company should address this matter and should discuss with the Union a more satisfactory system which will provide greater information and transparency.
Given all the circumstances, however, the Court does not find grounds have been put forward to warrant amending the Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th of June, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.