INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
10 REGIONAL DIRECTORS
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
2. FAS was formed in 1988. It operates in various regions throughout the country. It employs 10 Regional Directors who are responsible for the FAS operations in the regions.
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the 10 Regional Directors for an increase in their salary in line with Principal Officer, Higher Grade, in the Civil Service.
In 1988, when the posts were established the salary was based on Principal Officer, Standard Grade in the Civil Service. The workers concerned state that this rate is too low compared with the Regional Managers in IDA and Enterprise Ireland.
FAS states that there is no established relationship between grades in FAS and the grades in IDA and Enterprise Ireland. The claim was submitted to the Department of Finance and was rejected.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission held on the 5th of September, 2000. As agreement was not 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 1st of November, 2000.
3. 1. Regional Managers in IDA and Enterprise Ireland are on a higher scale than the Regional Directors in FAS as are similar staff throughout the Public Sector who have much smaller budgets to administer.
2. There has been a significant growth in the scale and complexity of the job in the last number of years. Work which was previously carried out by Head Office became the responsibility of the Regional Director.
3. The Regional Directors should receive an increase in salary equivalent to the Principal Officer, Higher Grade in the Civil Service.
4. 1. There is no established relationship between grades in FAS and grades in IDA and Enterprise Ireland. The present post holders in IDA and Enterprise Ireland received a settlement on a personal basis when the organisations were set up. Future entrants into the organisations are paid at the same rate as Regional Directors in FAS.
2. In each FAS region there are more managers and assistant managers employed to help cope with decentralisation and the increased work load.
3. The claim if conceded would be cost increasing and would lead to knock on claims in the organisation.
In support of their claim the Regional Directors rely on three alternative grounds.
(1) That the posts in question were inappropriately graded at the time they were created.
(2) The duties and responsibilities of the post have expanded since the inception of FAS to the extent that even if the posts were properly graded originally, they are no longer so.
(3) The post of Regional Director with IDA (Ireland) / Enterprise Ireland, with which the claimants have always had pay parity, was upgraded to the level claimed.
In the Court's view the information submitted by the claimants tends to support each of the grounds upon which they rely. For its part FAS is opposed to the claim mainly because the relevant Government Departments whose approval is required have refused to sanction any increase. It is, however, clear from documents supplied to the Court that FAS supported the claim on its merits in submissions made to its parent Department.
While the Court is of the opinion that on the information before it the claim has merit, it is not in a position to make a definitive recommendation in the absence of a more detailed assessment of the duties and responsibilities of the post of Regional Director - FAS, relative to other similarly graded posts in the public service generally.
The Court is aware that in the case of IDA (Ireland) / Enterprise Ireland, pay adjustments were approved and implemented for existing post holders following an assessment undertaken by independent experts. The Court believes that a similar approach is appropriate in the present case.
The Court recommends that the parties should jointly agree on an independent expert(s) who should evaluate the posts relative to similarly graded posts in other relevant employments. On completion of the evaluation the experts should report to the Court, after which the Court will issue a further recommendation on the merits of the claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
8th December, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.