INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ASSOCIATION OF PRIVATE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGES
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Pay parity and pay review.
2. The dispute concerns a claim by the Union for pay parity and pay review on behalf of its members employed as technicians by private Agricultural and Horticultural colleges. The colleges are funded by Teagasc.
The Union claims that following Labour Court recommendations LCR13172, LCR14705 and a report by the IPA (The McLoughlin Report) a direct link to technicans in Teagasc was recommended on the following basis:-
Grade I = Teagasc Entry Grade
Grade II = Point 1 to 7 of Teagasc Career Grade
Grade III = Points 8 to 11 of Teagasc Career Grade
The Union claims that Teagasc has failed to implement the pay parity for technicians employed by the private colleges as recommended in the McLoughlin Report.
Management has rejected the claim on the basis that the McLoughlin Report did not concede parity but rather conceded that the rates of pay at the time should be the same. This was conceded under the terms of Clause 2(iii) of the Programme for Competitiveness and Work (PCW) and was accepted by the Union as such.
In addition, technicians in Teagasc received further increases in pay ranging from 5% to 10% under Clause 2(iii) of the PCW. The Union is also seeking this increase for its members which management has also rejected.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 12th of December, 1998 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 23rd of March, 1999 (the earliest date suitable to the parties).
3. 1. The McLoughlin Report recommended parity for technicians in the private colleges with technicians in Teagasc.
2. Labour Court Recommendation LCR14705 also recommended parity between the grades.
3. Management's letter of the 2nd of November, 1995 accepted the recommendation of the McLoughlin Report for pay parity.
4. Teagasc is now refusing to pass on the benefits of recent increases granted to technicians at Teagasc to the technicians employed at the private colleges.
4. 1. The claimants accepted that they would not receive any further "specials" under the terms of the PCW following the recommendation of the McLoughlin Report.
2. The technicians in the private colleges have been treated generously by Teagasc following the implementation of the McLoughlin Report.
3. The McLoughlin Report did not concede parity but rather conceded that the rates of pay at that time should be the same.
4. The Union's letter of the 17th of November, 1995 accepted the terms of management's proposals in relation to the technicians employed by the private colleges.
Having considered the submissions made in this dispute the Court is faced with a fundamental misunderstanding between the parties regarding the acceptance of the McLoughlin Report. The Court is satisfied that the McLoughlin Report clearly established a direct link between the pay scales of technicians in the private agricultural colleges and those in Teagasc.
The Association indicated that it was only prepared to accept the McLoughlin Report with certain modifications whereas the Union understood that acceptance of the report by the Association meant parity.
The Court has considerable difficulty in reconciling the different interpretations of the parties. The Court recommends that in an effort to resolve this dispute, the pay scales as currently applying to Teagasc technicians should be paid to technicians in private agricultural colleges with effect from 1st of July, 1999. In the event of further adjustments in pay of Teagasc technicians (other than normal pay rounds), concessions of such adjustments to private agricultural college technicians should only be negotiated on the basis of concessions of equal value.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.