INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
LIMERICK INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR861/98.
2. The dispute concerns one worker, a stone mason, who was in part-time employment with the Institute, as a brick-laying lecturer, from 1981 until October, 1998, when he was informed that he would not be 'time-tabled' for the 1998/1999 academic year. He had been lecturing for two hours/week during the 1997/1998 academic year and claims that he was 'blatantly discriminated' against by the Institute when it decided to cease his teaching hours. The claim was rejected by the Institute, on the grounds that permanent lecturing staff were available to cover the claimant's hours. The dispute was the subject of investigation by a Rights Commissioner who, while finding that the claimant had not established that he had been the victim of discrimination, noted that there were unusual aspects to the case, notably the great age at which the claimant continued to work. The Rights Commissioner recommended that, as a gesture of goodwill, the Institute should offer and the claimant should, accept a lump sum of £250, without precedent and in full and final settlement of the dispute, in recognition of his loyal and dedicated service. The worker appealed the Rights Commissioner's recommendation to the Labour Court on the 25th of May, 1999, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal, in Limerick, on the 3rd of November, 1999.
3. 1. No-one in the Institute is covering subject matter taught by the worker. Only theory is being taught, as opposed to the practical nature of the worker's teaching.
2. The Institute reduced the worker's hours, from four per week to two per week and then ceased to timetable him for a range of reasons relating to his physical capabilities and his age, etc. (details supplied to the Court).
4. 1. It is established practice in the Institute and across the 3rd level education sector to allocate available teaching hours firstly to full-time lecturing staff. Originally brick and stone courses were taught on a block release basis. However, the training authority for Apprentice Education in FÁS introduced a new system which has changed the structure of the entire brick and stone courses. Effectively, the practical allocation of hours under the FÁS Manual is now fully satisfied by two full-time staff within the school. The balance of theory is also undertaken by full-time staff within the school of the Built Environment. Therefore, the Institute does not have any appropriate/relevant teaching hours available for the claimant to undertake.
2. The claimant has not been replaced by any part-time lecturer in the brickwork/stonework area. In the past, although he is well beyond normal retirement age he was given teaching hours when they were available and after permanent staff had been allocated their contract hours.
Having regard to all the circumstances of this case the Court cannot find any basis on which it could interfere with the Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner.
The Recommendation is upheld and the appeal disallowed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
22nd November, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.