INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(AMICUS) MANUFACTURING, SCIENCE, FINANCE
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Promotional procedures.
2. In June, 2000, following negotiations, a formal promotional policy was agreed between the University and the Union. Prior to this the post of Senior Lecturer was advertised publicly and filled through external competition, there was no provision for restricted internal promotion. Currently, appointments are made at Senior Lecturer level by external competition and by the internal promotion mechanism.
The Union claims that the University has breached the agreement by withholding posts from the internal promotion mechanism and is seeking a further fifty nine internal Senior Lecturer posts to comply with the agreement.
The University does not accept that it has breached the June, 2000, agreement. It made a once-off offer of ten promotional opportunities to senior lecturer level in 2002, and ten in 2003 through the internal promotion mechanism. The offer was rejected by the Union.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 6th of June, 2002, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 12th of June, 2002.
3. 1. The University acted outside the agreement. There is no justification to withhold any posts from the agreed internal promotions procedure in excess of the agreed 20% ratio and to fill them through external competition.
2. The University should allocate the appropriate number of Senior Lecturer posts through the internal promotion mechanism in order to comply with the agreement reached in June, 2000.
4. 1. Prior to the June, 2000 agreement there was no internal promotional mechanism within the University for the promotion of Lecturer to Senior Lecturer. The establishment of a ratio where "no fewer than 80% of posts at Senior Lecturer level will be retained for the internal promotion mechanism" represents a significant advancement in terms of promotional opportunities.
2. The University has not breached the agreement. It has made a serious attempt to address the issue. The offer made should be accepted by the Union.
The Court has carefully considered the submissions made by both parties and has examined the text of the agreement concluded in June, 2000, on the Policy and Procedures for the Promotion of Facility.
It appears to the Court that, to a significant degree, the parties negotiated at cross-purposes in regard to the scope of the agreement. Clearly, the Union thought that all promotional appointments actually made in the relevant period were encompassed by the agreement. The approach of the University was that promotional posts previously allocated could not be reserved to the internal promotions mechanism and that only posts arising after the commencement date could come within the scope of the agreement.
Since neither party raised the question of allocated but unfilled posts, the filling of these posts was not addressed in the agreement. In the Court's view, both parties must accept responsibility for the resulting misunderstanding.
The Court feels that a practical approach must be adapted in dealing with the current situation. The posts in question have now been filled and that situation cannot be reversed. Equally, the creation of a significant number of additional Senior Lecturer posts would be impractical and contrary to the underline rationale of the June, 2000, agreement.
In all the circumstances of the case, the Court recommends that the dispute be resolved on the basis of the University's offer made at conciliation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd July, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.