INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN
- AND -
IRISH FEDERATION OF UNIVERSITY TEACHERS
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Leave for Chief Technicians.
2. The dispute concerns the Union's claim, on behalf of the Chief Technician Grade employed by Trinity College, for 29 days' annual leave on the basis that there are higher leave entitlements for staff with a comparative level of professionalism and status. Their current leave entitlement is 21 days. The College rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). A conciliation conferences was held on the 20th of May, 1999 and on the 2nd of June, 1999, the Industrial Relations Officer made the following proposals:
1. That the annual leave entitlement of Chief Technician is increased to 24 days per annum with effect from 1st of October, 1998.
2. That both parties accept that the increase in the leave entitlement of Chief Technicians is based on a broad comparison of the annual leave entitlement of Chief Technicians with the leave entitlement of other grades of staff with similar levels of responsibility in the College.
3. That both parties accept that the Working Time Act does not provide for knock-on claims for leave entitlements over and above the legal minimum leave requirements.
4. That the claim by the IFUT in regard to the leave of Chief Technicians does not relate in any way to the implementation of the Working Time Act.
5. That the above proposal is subject to the agreement of the College's funding authorities.
The proposal was accepted by the College, however, the Higher Education Authority (HEA), on application to the Department of Education and Science (the funding authority) refused approval on the following grounds:
1. There is no provision for consequential claims arising from the implementation of the Working Time Act.
2. The current leave arrangements do not seem out of line with the equivalent grades in other Universities.
3. Clause 6 of Partnership 2000 (P2000) precludes cost increasing claims.
4. There is a danger of follow-on claims."
A further conciliation conference was held on the 22nd of November, 1999, but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 13th of December, 1999. A Court hearing was held on the 26thJanuary 2000.
3. 1. The LRC proposal, which the Union accepted, made it abundantly clear that what was involved was not a consequential claim arising from the implementation of the Working Time Act. The comparison was with other grades of staff with similar levels of responsibility in the College not in other Universities. The Union also understood that in the overall organisation of things, the claim would not necessarily be cost increasing. If follow on claims are made then they should stand or fall on their own merits. It is entirely unacceptable that, an agreement such as that reached at the Labour Relations Commission should be rejected simply because of a' danger' of such claims.
2. The Union asks the Court to recommend in favour of the Industrial Officer's proposal.
4. 1. The Union's claim for increased leave for Chief Technicians is a cost-increasing claim. The College is required by its funding authorities to deal with cost-increasing claims under the terms of the national wage agreement currently applicable. The Union claimed the full 2% increase for its members under the terms of the local bargaining arrangements of the P2000 national wage agreement. There is therefore, at present no provision for dealing with this claim.
2. College staff have a variety of annual leave entitlements (details to the Court) some of which reflect requirements for working outside normal hours. It is very likely that an increase in leave entitlement for Chief Technician I staff would lead to a number of claims for additional leave from other categories of staff. MSF, which represents technical staff up to and including Chief Technician II's, has informed the College that it intends to submit a claim for additional leave for its members if IFUT's claim is successful. SIPTU is currently claiming an increase in annual leave for Library Assistants.
3. It is not open to the College to concede a cost-increasing claim of this nature at this time. The College is not in a position to resume discussions with the Union on this matter, until such time as there is a provision for this in the terms of a national agreement.
4. The College asks the Court to recommend that further discussions concerning the Union's claim be deferred until such time as an appropriate means of dealing with it should become available under the terms of a national wage agreement.
It is unsatisfactory that the discussions on this claim were allowed go as far as they did, given that the Funding Authorities were clearly unlikely to approve the form of proposal being proposed. This can only add to the frustration already in the system.
However, the Court accepts that the proposal was subject to the agreement of the College Funding Authorities.
The Court, given the arguments made, recommends that the claimants accept the employer's offer to enter into discussion on this claim, when an appropriate means of dealing with it under the term of a National Agreement is in position.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th March, 2000.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.