INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ASSOCIATION OF AGRICULTURAL AND HORTICULTURAL COLLEGES
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
MR CHRISTOPHER DOUGLAS, AND OTHERS
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Hearing arising from Labour Court Recommendation No. LCR15132.
2. The dispute concerns a claim on behalf of the principals of four Teagasc-funded Private Colleges to have their salary brought in line with that of principals in Teagasc Colleges. The claim was the subject of a Labour Court hearing in June, 1995, subsequent to which LCR15132 issued. The Court recommended that the principals' salary be increased by 3%, with effect from the 1st of April, 1994 and that the balance of the claim be considered in the context of such arrangements as might be in place following the expiry of the Programme for Competitiveness and Work (PCW). The 3% increase was implemented, but that increase, the principals claim has been eroded due to increases awarded to teachers in the Private Colleges. The balance of the claim, as referred to in LCR15132, has been the subject of local discussions, without agreement being reached. The position of the Colleges is that the provisions of Partnership 2000 (P2000) do not provide a mechanism for resolving the issue. The dispute was the subject of a further Labour Court hearing, on the 27th of April, 1998.
3. 1. The Court, in its previous recommendation, accepted that the only increase that could be applied was within the 3% limit of Clause 2 of the PCW. Similarly, in considering the balance of the increase, the parties are constrained by the provisions of P2000. In this regard the 2% which may be payable as a result of local level negotiations would not be sufficient and was not intended to be used for cases such as this.
2. The difference between the maximum of the Private Colleges scale and the 2nd long service increment (after 6 years at maximum) on the Teagasc scale is £8,423 (26.29%). The cost of assimilation of a Private College principal onto the Teagasc principal scale, within the period of P 2000, would be £2,518 (7.85%). (Details supplied to the Court).
3. The Association, and the Department of Agriculture and Food, and Finance accepted, in principle, the Labour Relations Commission proposals which included an allowance for suitably qualified Private College principals to give them parity with Teagasc College principals. Those proposals also stipulated that annual leave for Private College principals would equate to annual leave to Teagasc principals. However, the funding of pay increases of this scale from exchequer sources would be a clear breach of P2000. Teagasc, having consulted with the relevant government departments, has made clear to the Association that the additional funding required would have to come from the resources of the individual Colleges. The Private Colleges, however, are unable to identify savings or increased income to fund those pay increases.
4. As it has not been possible to identify savings or increased income to meet the costs involved, the Association can see no alternative but to continue to try to identify possible ways to fund the cost from non-exchequer sources. It is also quite likely that the existing 3% arrangement will be revised to the benefit of the Private College principals in the context of agreeing a package with the Private College assistant lecturers, under Clause 2 (iii) A of Annex 1 of the PCW.
4. 1. The job of principal has been carried out without appropriate remuneration, in some cases since 1977. Since the establishment of Teagasc in 1988, additional duties undertaken by the principals have greatly increased their workload and were the stimulus for claim when originally made in 1990. Their right to regrading has always been accepted by Teagasc.
2. Teagasc has had the opportunities of four national wage agreements to process the regrading issue, but has failed so to do through a combination of obstructive arguments and deliberate delays. Where the arguments are strong, the terms of national wage agreements have been deemed flexible enough to allow increases greater than 3%. For example, in the case of Private College technicians, under threat of industrial action, Teagasc implemented both a pay increase and a regrading claim.
3. The most recent Labour Court Recommendation, which Teagasc accepted, provided Teagasc with the opportunity to include the balance of the pay increase in the negotiations for Partnership 2000, a procedure which has been used to resolve other similar issues.
4. As early as March, 1993, the Labour Court took the view that there had been an inordinate and unacceptable delay in bringing the matter to a conclusion. Accordingly, the salary scale for principal should be implemented in full with effect from the start date of P2000.
The Court notes that all parties are agreed on the need to find a mechanism by which the pay adjustment claimed can be finally implemented. The Court believes that option A of Clause 2 (iii) of Annex 1 of PCW together with appropriate savings/efficiencies can provide such a mechanism.
It, therefore, recommends that a phasing arrangement be now agreed which will assimilate the pay of the claimants into line with the scale for Teagasc College principals over the period of P2000. The parties should also agree a range of measures relating to flexibility and change, consistent with that provision of PCW and such other cost offsetting measures as may be necessary so as to contain the increase within the cost parameters of the agreement. In that context, the 3% increase recommended by the Court in Recommendation LCR15132 should be regarded as an interim payment.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th May, 1998______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.