INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. 1. Farm Foreman rate.
2. Restoration of rate.
2. The dispute concerns two farm workers who are employed at Johnstown Castle Research Centre. One worker is employed as Garden Supervisor. He supervises three staff and is paid the General Operative rate plus an allowance of 25%. He is claiming that he should be paid the same rate of pay as that which is paid to two other foremen, i.e. the Farm Foreman and the Craft Maintenance Foreman.
The second claimant is the Farm Foreman. He was appointed in 1999 following the retirement of the previous Foreman. He earns approximately £50 less per week than his predecessor. The Union is claiming the full application of the previous Farm Foreman rate and that any change to that rate should be negotiated by the parties.
The issues in dispute were the subject of several conciliation conferences at the Labour Relations Commission in 1999 and 2000. As agreement was not possible, the issues were referred to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute in Wexford on the 12th of May, 2000.
3. 1. Farm Foremen rate for Gardener: The post of Head Gardener has historically been filled by Technicians, although the original Head Gardener was appointed to Technician without qualification. The claimant has been blocked from pay progression because he is not a Technician, yet a Technician's qualifications are irrelevant to the job. The claimant is a very skilled person carrying out extensive garden maintenance in a major garden of international importance.
2. Restoration of rate: Teagasc reduced the Farm Foreman pay rate without any consultation with the Union. The claimant does not know what pay scale he is on, except that he earns £50 less per week than his predecessor. He also supervises at least four staff who earn more than him. The historic pay relativity with the Craft Maintenance Foreman has also been broken without consultation.
4. 1. Farm Foreman rate for Gardener: The claimant is not a qualified Gardener and does not supervise qualified Gardeners. It would be inappropriate to pay him at the level of a qualified Foreman supervising qualified Craftsmen. The agreed 25% supervisory allowance is the highest allowance paid by Teagasc to farm staff grades and adequately compensates him for supervising three staff.
2. Restoration of rate: The Farm Foreman who retired in 1999 was one of only a few long serving staff whose pay was related to an Office of Public Works (OPW) pay scale. It was agreed in 1994 that all Teagasc farm grades would be linked to Local Authority grades. Therefore, upon filling the post in 1999, Teagasc considered that the duties and responsibilities of the post equated with those of Farm Stewards in Teagasc colleges, and implemented that pay scale.
On the issues before it, the Court having considered the written and oral submissions of the parties, recommends as follows:
Farm Foreman Pay Rate
While there appears to be acceptance that the rate for this job would be linked to Local Authority grades, no discussion took place on this matter between the parties. Management decided the appropriate grade and proposed implementation. The Court is satisfied that this proposed grade should have been discussed with the Union and if the parties had failed to reach agreement, the matter should have been processed through normal procedures.
The Court recommends that Management now put its proposal forward for discussion and if the parties fail to reach agreement, the matter to be referred back to the Court.
Pay Rate for Garden Supervisor
The Court, having considered the submissions on this claim, does not find that sufficient arguments exist for conceding the claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th May, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.