INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
CARLOW REGIONAL TECHNICAL COLLEGE
- AND -
Chairman: Ms Owens
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
2. The worker concerned is employed in the Department of Applied Biology and Chemistry at Carlow RTC since 1978. He is paid at the Craft Assistant rate of pay. He has been at the top point of the Craft Assistant pay scale (£433.16) since 1985. The worker claims that he is suitably qualified for the Technician Grade and should be appointed to that grade immediately. Management rejected the claim. On 22nd May, 1997 the worker referred the dispute to the Labour Court under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. A Court hearing was held in Carlow on the 9th September, 1997.
3. 1. The worker's official title is Technical Assistant. He is paid at the Craft Assistant rate of pay. There is no Technical Assistant grade in Regional Colleges. The fact that the position which the worker occupied had to be renamed Technical Assistant highlights the fact that the post he now occupies is of a higher grade than craft Technical Assistant grade.
2. The worker has the approved qualification specified for the technical grade and he works to the same conditions of employment and duties as a technician. He should have the same status and receive the same remuneration as his technician colleagues. He services 2 laboratories at Certificate (2nd year) and Diploma (3rd year) level (details to the Court). In addition he has sole responsibility for all glassware stocks in the School of Science. The laboratory sessions also entail preparation beforehand, assistance during practical classes and maintenance of the good order of laboratories after practical sessions.
3. The employee works alongside 4 Technicians and he is required to independently perform the same duties as these Technicians and to the same level of responsibility, skill and competence. This is confirmed by information from supervisors and lecturing colleagues. The worker, feels that his claim is valid. It is within the College's power since 1992 (College's Act) to accede to the claim.
4. 1. The College accepts that the worker has the necessary minimum qualifications to fulfil the role of Technician. It is accepted that he currently services two laboratories in the College and that his work is similar in nature to other technicians employed in the College.
2. The College has approached the Department of Education seeking to have the claimant upgraded. The Department stated "there are no provisions for the upgrading of Craft Assistants under the conditions of employment at that level". Subsequent representations made to the Department elicited a similar response.
3. It is recognised at national level within the RTC sector, that there is a need to address the fact that there are a significant number of Craft Assistants employed by RTCs who perform duties similar to those of technicians. The issue is currently being addressed through on-going national negotiations. It is anticipated that, following the successful completion of these negotiations, the College will be in a position to upgrade the claimant.
On the basis of the evidence presented the claimant was incorrectly graded as a Technical Assistant at Craft Assistant level. The Court further notes that it is not disputed that he performs similar work to Technicians and accordingly recommends that he be placed on the Technician scale with effect from 1st January, 1997.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th September, 1997______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.