INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
SHINKO MICROELECTRONICS IRELAND LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR1255/00/CW
2. The dispute concerns the Union's claim that the Company did not observe proper interview procedures whilst filling vacancies in the Supervisory Grade.
The Company is a major manufacturer and assembler of microchips for the electronics industry, and employs approximately 350 workers. At least 50% of the workforce has been recruited in the last 18 months. Prior to December, 1999, the workers were graded as follows:- Production Operatives (A, B or C grade), 16 Team Leaders (grade D), and 8 Supervisors. In December, 1999, as part of a restructuring process, the Company decided to appoint 4 Co-ordinators. The Co-ordinators were appointed from the Supervisor grade, thus leaving 4 vacancies in the Supervising section. The Company decided to fill the vacant positions from the Team Leader section and, in the end, the decision was left to the 4 recently appointed Co-ordinators (in consultation with the Production Manager and Production Director) as to who would fill the vacancies. Each Team Leader was written to asking if he/she would be interested in filling the vacant positions. The worker concerned was one of 14 Team Leaders who expressed an interest but he was unsuccessful in being appointed.
The Union's case is that the worker concerned should have been one of the 4 team Leaders appointed because of his long service in the grade. The Company refutes that any procedures were broken in making the appointments. The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner who stated in his findings:
" I am concerned at the lack of any formal record as to how the appointments were made. They are senior positions carrying responsibility and appropriate reward. The lack of such a record certainly feeds the feelings of the worker that the appointments were not made in full consideration of all candidates."
(The worker was named in the above statement).
The Rights Commissioner's recommendation was as follows:
" I recommendthat the Company contributes £5000 to an agreed (Union/Company) charity in settlement of this dispute.
Both sides appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 - the Company on the 24th of November, 2000, and the Union on the 27th of November. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 20th of February, 2001, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The worker concerned is an employee of the Company for over 18 years. He has been a Team Leader for 12 years and is currently the most experienced and long-serving Team Leader.
2. The worker was not considered for any of the positions. He presumed that interviews would take place as was normal for promotion but this did not happen.
3. The 4 successful candidates were all Team Leaders who had been employed in the same departments as the Co-ordinators who appointed them, and worked closely with them.
4. The decision and method of appointment to fill the vacancies was flawed by virtue of the fact that it was based purely on subjective factors.
4. 1. The Company/Union procedural agreement (copy supplied to the Court) shows that the Company has sole discretion in deciding who shall be promoted or recruited, and the method by which candidates shall be chosen, whether by interview or collegiate consultation as happened in this case. There is no requirement to interview candidates.
2. The 4 Co-ordinators, the Production Manager and the Production Director engaged in a collegiate consultation to assess the candidates and their suitability for the vacancies. The worker concerned was one of 14 Leaders who applied, and he was fully considered for the position. However, the consultation group considered that the 4 people chosen were the most suitable for the positions.
3. There was not sufficient time to interview the 14 applicants. In any event, all the candidates were well known as all had long service with the Company. The worker concerned was the only one of the 10 unsuccessful candidates who was unhappy with the process.
Both sides appealed the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner. The Court has considered all the details of this case. The Court has consistently held that recruitment and selection procedures should always be open and transparent at all stages of the process. It is the view of the Court that such transparency was lacking in this case.
The importance of fairness and objectivity when carrying out interviews, and when using assessment forms, cannot be overestimated so that the process can be considered free from any form of subjectivity. Therefore, the Court concurs with the Rights Commissioner's findings that the impression was given in this case that "the appointments were not made in full consideration of all candidates".
With regard to the Union's appeal, the Court can see no basis for increasing the amount or changing the method of payment recommended by the Rights Commissioner.
Therefore, the Court dismisses both appeals and upholds the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner.
In upholding this recommendation, the Court wishes to highlight the point made regarding the agreement of an appropriate protocol so as to prevent a similar dispute from occuring again in the future.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
6th March, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.