INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
DUBLIN CITY UNIVERSITY
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
2. The dispute concerns a claim on behalf of one worker, the senior groundsman in Dublin City University (DCU), for parity with the grounds-fore-person in the University of Limerick (UL). The claimant, who commenced employment with DCU in 1991, is on the 10th point of a scale which ranges from £13,221 per annum to £13,929 per annum, approximately. The scale applying to the grounds-fore-person in the UL ranges from £15,838 per annum to £18,116 per annum. The claim was rejected by the DCU.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission at which agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 9th of December, 1998, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court carried out its investigation on the 23rd of February, 1999.
3. 1. The worker, who works on his own initiative and has responsibility for all day to day decisions regarding the DCU grounds, has duties and responsibilities similar, if not greater, to the most senior position on the grounds staff in the UL.
2. The worker is directly responsible for two groundsmen who are permanently on campus and for any landscape contractors on campus. While there is a bigger grounds staff in the UL, contractors are not used there to the same extent as in DCU. The worker is also responsible for tree surgery and the supervision of any tree surgeons or students employed on the grounds.
3. The worker has always been heavily involved in landscaping and design work associated with the capital programme on campus. He is also responsible for the grounds of St. Claire's in Glasnevin and, with the recent development of playing pitches, will be in charge of ensuring that the maintenance programme is carried out. He also has responsibility for the purchase and maintenance of all machinery for the DCU grounds.
4. While the grounds in the UL (300 acres) are larger than those in DCU (85 acres) only about 110 acres in the UL are in use by the University, the remainder being farmland.
5. The worker is wrongly graded and, accordingly, the Union believes there would be no knock-on effects if the claim were conceded.
4. 1. The comparison between the senior groundsperson in DCU and grounds-fore-person in the UL is not between like jobs. The grounds-fore-person in the UL is a higher level job, and he looks after a bigger campus with more staff requiring a higher level of supervision. DCU has a total of 85 acres at present including St. Claire's, whilst the UL has 300 acres. The grounds-fore-person in the UL supervises seven permanent employees, plus contractors as required whilst in DCU only one permanent DCU employee and one contractor are supervised.
2. There is a post equivalent to the claimant's job, in the UL, i.e., the grounds supervisor who is paid on the same salary scale. This clearly shows that the grounds-fore-person is a promotion post requiring higher levels of supervision and that grades equivalent to the claimant's post report to the grounds-fore-person in the UL.
3. The claimant's post received the general operative award in November, 1995. His grade is linked to the Corporation General Operative rates whilst the grounds-fore-person in the UL is linked to the Local Authority Craft Group, showing the difference between the posts. The claim is in breach of Partnership 2000 as it is a cost-increasing claim. Any concession of the claim could have serious repercussive consequences for other grades of staff in DCU and outside the University.
The Court has given careful consideration to the written and oral submissions made by the parties and to the subsequent information supplied. The senior groundsperson in DCU sought pay parity with the ground-fore-person in the University of Limerick. Based on the evidence before it, the Court is satisfied that the position of grounds-fore-person is a higher grade and the duties of the claimant, as outlined, do not warrant concession of the higher grade.
If the duties and responsibilities of the senior groundsperson change, the Court recommends that the parties should discuss the changed situation then arising and, in the absence of agreement, should arrange for an independent evaluation to be carried out.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th March, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.