INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN
- AND -
CRAFT GROUP OF UNIONS
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Application of crafts salary scale.
2. The dispute concerns 11 craftsmen who are on an incremental pay scale operated nationally throughout Local Authorities and Health Boards. The claim arose as a result of the recruitment of an electrician onto the top point of the existing salary scale .The Unions claim that the recruitment of this worker at the top of the pay scale discriminates against existing workers who have a number of years experience in the employment but are now paid less than the new employee. Management stated that there was no agreement with the Unions regarding the entry point to the craft scale. Because of the difficult recruitment situation currently obtaining the College must have flexibility regarding the entry point of new staff in order to be in a position to cope with market forces. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 5th September, 2000 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 6th October, 2000 A Court hearing was held on the 1st December, 2000.
3.1. When the National Wage Scale for craft workers was introduced there was an agreement on how current craftworkers would be assimilated onto the new scale and also how new workers would be placed on the salary scale.
2. The craftworkers reject the College's approach as unfair and discriminatory. They are angry and disillusioned and will not accept Management's decision unless any craftworkers currently below the maximum points are brought up to the top of the scale. There are currently 9 craftworkers below the maximum point. The claim is not an expensive cost to the College and the craftworkers are seeking parity on the scale from the date of the breach.
3. While Management has now stated that in any future recruitment it will adhere to the proper scale, and this is acceptable to the Union, the College must recognise that all current staff below the maximum point on the scale are brought up on a once-off basis to rectify the current anomaly.
4. 1. The Union has argued that the College is not following the local government guidelines in relation to appointment of staff to specific scale points. However, the College is not obliged to follow these guidelines, and has never done so or agreed to do so.
2. While reserving the right to decide on the entry point of new staff, the College is sensitive to the effect that appointing new staff at a high point on the craft scale can have on existing staff. For this reason it has made proposals, dated 12th August ,2000 in relation to future appointments to, and progression through, the Craft scale. (Details supplied to the Court).
3. There is no good reason why the College should advance all existing craftsmen to the top of the scale. This would have the effect of abolishing the scale for all craftsmen presently employed by the College, including those still within the probationary period. The College's funding authorities would not permit this.
4. The craft scale has been the source of several significant wage increases for College craftsmen, based on its general linkage with the local authority scale. Eliminating this scale for existing staff could run the risk of making it difficult for the College to pay any future increases deriving from this linkage.
5. College incremental scales are intended to reflect years of service. Staff normally progress up a scale by one increment every October. The Unions' claim seeks to eliminate the link between length of service and incremental point.
6. There is no provision for pay increases of the kind claimed by the Unions under the national wage agreements.
7. If this claim was to be successful there would inevitably be significant knock-on implications for Craftsmen throughout the public sector. There would also be a significant number of similar claims on behalf of other categories of staff in the College.
Having considered all aspects of this claim, the Court is of the view that at times of major labour shortages, the principle of supply and demand can prevail and difficulties arise in trying to adhere to the principle of recruiting workers on the lower point of the incremental scale. The Court accepts that the policy of recruiting workers onto varying points of the scale has always been a feature of craft recruitment at the college. The Unions made reference to another Labour Court Recommendation which dealt with a similar point, the Court is of the view that there was a clear difference in that case as there was a bar at the 4th point of the scale.
In order to resolve this dispute the Court recommends that proposals put forward on 12th August, 2000 on an agreed recruitment policy for the future should be finalised and agreed and secondly that the college's offer to pay additional increments should be accepted and amended by the payment of the increment due on 1st October, 2001 being brought forward to 1st October, 2000 as a once off gesture in this case.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th December, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.