INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
Chairman: Mr McGrath
Employer Member: Mr Brennan
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Alleged unfair allocation of permanent full-time jobs.
2. The workers concerned are currently employed by An Post in a permanent part-time capacity as auxiliary postal sorters (APS) in the Dublin Mails Centre (DMC). They had been previously employed on a temporary basis for varying periods from April, 1992.
The dispute before the Court concerns the workers' claim that they have been unfairly treated by Management in the allocation of full-time jobs following a competition for promotion to full-time postal sorter.
The workers argue that they should have been placed on the panel with a view to a full-time job. The Company's position is that the claimants were applicants in the competition but were among those who were deemed not to have attained the standard required for promotion and were not placed on the panel.
Local level discussions failed to resolve the matter and the workers referred the dispute to the Labour Court on the 22nd of January, 1997 under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. Labour Court hearings took place on the 10th of April, 1997 and the 25th of June, 1997. The workers agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
(Since the Court hearings the workers in question have been placed on a panel from which permanent full-time postal sorters will be appointed. However they are concerned that their positions on the panel will not ensure their promotion).
3. 1. The workers have been up-graded for the past two years to postal sorter, performing all
duties pertinent to the grade, yet, when the full-time jobs were allocated, management
considered that workers who had no experience in the postal sorter grade more suitable
for the position than the workers concerned.
2. The workers have been doing the work for the past 5 years. They have good attendance records and received no complaints from management regarding their work performance. In the circumstances it is difficult to understand that they are not suitable for promotion to the position of full-time postal sorter.
4. 1. It is Company policy to fill pensionable full-time positions on the permanent establishment through competitive selection procedures (i.e. external recruitment competitions or internal or confined recruitment or promotion competitions). This policy applies to the postal sorter appointments at the DMC. The promotion competition in question was advertised and proceeded following due course consultations with the Communications Workers' Union, which represents the various interested staff categories concerned (including APS staff).
2. The applications of the claimants were assessed in the same way as other applications in accordance with the procedure set out. All obtained an interview. At the conclusion of the selection process, the claimants were among a number of applicants who were deemed not to have attained the standard for promotion to full-time postal sorter.
3. Each of the claimants subsequently made personal appeals/enquiries in relation to the decision of the Selection Board. The appeals were considered but were not upheld and each of those concerned was notified of the reasons at the time. No appeals have been received from the Union on behalf of any of the claimants.
4. The claimants (and many other APS staff) have actually worked full-time attendances on an expressly temporary basis to cater for staffing shortages and volume growth and, in fact, are currently doing so under arrangements due to expire shortly. However, staff have not been individually assessed or selected for this purpose - staffing contingencies have been such that all the permanent APS staff have been offered additional hours on a temporary basis at various times, regardless of the panel or other factors.
5. To fulfil their aspiration to attain promotion to full-time postal sorter, it is necessary that the claimants fulfil the requirements for appointment as assessed through the normal Company selection procedure for such appointments. All of the claimants will undoubtedly have further opportunity to seek the promotion they desire. In the circumstances the Court is asked to uphold the Company's position.
Having considered this case and the evidence since the hearing the Court now recommends that steps be taken to appoint all remaining members of the Panel, within a twelve month period from the date of the hearing i.e. by June 1998.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
2nd April, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.