INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
IRISH DAIRY BOARD
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Promotion/Staff Development.
2. The dispute concerns one worker who joined the Board in 1983, in the position of departmental secretary, and whom the Union claims has been consistently denied promotion by the Company, for no good reason. The Union is seeking access for the worker to promotion and, in the meantime, assistance from the Company in her development as an employee by being given exposure to work in the marketing area. The Company has rejected the Union's claims and also stated that, as the issue is also before the Equality Service, it would not be prepared to answer the Union's claim at conciliation. It was not possible to reach agreement at conciliation and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court carried out its investigation on the 20th of May, 1997.
3. 1. The history of the worker's attempts at gaining promotion (details supplied to the Court) represents a serious indictment of management. The worker is an exemplary, long-serving employee who, after 14 years, is still a base-grade clerk.
2. The worker has, of her own volition, achieved two significant qualifications in Foreign Trade, and Marketing. She has been thwarted in all her efforts to gain promotion, with temporary and less-qualified staff being given preference for positions to which the worker was entitled.
3. She has been denied opportunities of gaining experience in roles alternative to her present role. Such opportunities have been made available to other members of staff, all with less service, some of whom had less qualifications and some of whom are temporary.
4. The worker is being denied her rights at the whim of certain managers who appear to have set out to deny her any career progress.
5. Management has an obligation to all employees with the necessary qualifications, to allow them access to the necessary exposure in temporary job-situations to gain relevant experience.
6. The worker has been treated unfairly and a programme should be put in place to right what amounts to a serious injustice to her.
4. 1. There has been no discrimination or unfairness in the Board's treatment of the worker during the course of her career. The Board's recruitment policy is a fair one based on candidates' qualifications, experience and skills. Many different managers have been involved in the interviews which have been attended by the worker.
2. The Board is not in a position to guarantee a particular career path for any of its staff. It can only encourage staff to apply for suitable vacancies that arise and they must then take their chances against the other applicants.
3. The Board's Marketing Department is a small one and it is not possible to create a new job there, particularly in view of rising salary costs and a shrinking business base. This would also be unfair to other staff.
4. The worker has been sponsored financially, and in terms of time off to study, for the qualifications she has gained. She has been given work experience in Commercial Departments on three occasions and it was her own decision to return to her secretarial post.
5. Of the 17 positions she has applied for she has been successful in 3 and 11 have been two or three grades higher than her current job.
6. While the worker has gained additional qualifications, she has not shown any abilities above the norm in the temporary roles she has carried out. In all the vacancies she has applied for, in the view of the interview panel, better candidates have been appointed.
7. The worker's relationship with her manager may have deteriorated in recent years. However, he has never done anything to block her advancement and most importantly has not been on any of the panels which have interviewed her. He has stated that he would be very happy for her to gain a higher graded post as she is obviously unhappy in her role as a secretary.
Having considered the submissions, the Court has concluded that the Union case has not been sustained. The Court recommends that the Company's Personnel Manager should give the claimant further guidance as to her career path within the organisation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
17th of June, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.