INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
GROUP 4 SECURITAS IRELAND LTD
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. 1. Promotion criteria and 2. Time off for shop stewards.
2. Promotion procedures
The Union is in dispute with the Company in relation to (a) promotion procedures and (b) paid time-off for shop stewards. The Union claims that in relation to promotional matters the Company has departed from long established procedures in filling supervisory/managerial positions. It states that in some instances, new employees have been promoted while still on probation. There was traditionally a 12 month service requirement prior to eligibility.
The Company states that with regard to the promotion issue staff are promoted on merit irrespective of service. It claims that because of the high turnover of staff, the current labour market made it impossible to adhere to a service requirement. It claims that in January, 2000 a panel system was set up which would last 6 months. All promotions were to be filled from this panel. However, the Union requested that the panel system be discontinued.
Paid time-off for shop stewards
The Union states that the matter of time-off for shop stewards to attend to official union business was established over twenty years ago. The Union claims that in relation to day shift meetings with management, staff were released for a full day to attend such meetings no matter how long the meeting took.
The Company claims that procedures are in place for shop stewards to attend to official union business. Where a shop steward is restored to work the night before a meeting that official is allowed the night off on full pay. If an official is required to attend a meeting on his/her day off he/she is paid for the time with a guaranteed minimum of four hours pay. However, the Company states that it is not prepared to extend the above facility to day workers.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 4th August, 2000 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 18th August, 2000 under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 14th November, 2000.
3. 1. The Company has failed to consult with the Union about change in the management/supervisory structure and the decision to set aside the service requirement for promotions.
2. The Company's procedures governing staff promotions are contrary to established practice in Group 4 and out of line with good practice in industry at large.
3. The Company's transgressions are unfair to existing security officers and supervisors who have abided by the agreed requirements.
4. The new arrangements entail a reduction in professional standards and as such damage the present standing and the future prospects of the Company.
4. 1. The present high turnover of staff and the current labour market situations make it difficult to adhere to a service requirement.
2. Staff are promoted on merit irrespective of the length of service an employee has.
3. Many of the existing security officers are happy working at their particular locations and are not prepared to travel to a new location.
4. Only where the Company is unable to fill vacancies internally does it look outside the organisation for suitable staff.
Paid leave for shop stewards
5. 1. The Company has deviated from the Company/Union agreement covering paid time-off for shop stewards.
2. The arrangements for time-off for shop stewards on official business were established over twenty years ago.
3. The facility is necessary to afford shop stewards reasonable time-off to meet with management and to attend to other industrial relations matters.
6. 1. The current leave arrangements for shop stewards to attend meetings on official business are generous by industry standards and the Company is not prepared to enhance them.
2. There is no written agreement between the Company and the Union regarding the facilities to be afforded to shop stewards.
3. The Company is not prepared to countenance a situation which affords certain individuals the opportunity to profit from their voluntary participation in union matters.
The Court has given consideration to all aspects of these claims. The Court has been asked to adjudicate on two issues; Promotion Criteria and Time Off for Shop Stewards.
At the outset, the Court wishes to make a comment regarding overall communications between Management and the Union:
- The adverse industrial relations environment that has prevailed in the past has been the subject of a Labour Relations Commission Advisory Service report. It would appear to the Court that no effort has been made to comply with the recommendation of that report and that tensions have existed between the parties as a result. This matter must be given precedence and every effort should be made by both sides to bring about an improvement through the mechanisms suggested in that report. Where possible procedures and agreements should be formalised. Both parties should continue to set out procedures to improve communications and where changes affect the rights of employees, Management must consult with the Union before any such changes are brought into effect.
The Court accepts the Company's right to promote employees according to their requirements. To impose a restriction of a minimum service requirement before promotion could be considered, appears to the Court to be counterproductive and unnecessary, particularly in the current climate of difficulties concerning staff recruitment and retention and the shortage of internal applications for the promotional positions.
The Court is of the view that the policy initiated by the Company in January 2000 to set up a panel system was a reasonable method of addressing this problem. The Court recommends that the Union should accept Management's right to select the most suitable candidate for promotion irrespective of length of service. Both sides should agree on the most suitable method of implementing this right.
Time Off for Shop Stewards
The Court is of the view that the Company's policy on allowing time off for attendance at Union business is reasonable. The Court does not see any adverse consequences of the policy and does not recommend any change in that policy.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
4th December, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.