INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Re-hearing arising from LCR16519.
2. The dispute concerns the appropriate rate of pay for the worker who is the Farm Foreman in Johnstown Castle. The dispute was previously the subject of LCR16519, which issued in May, 2000. In it, the Court recommended that the parties should meet to discuss the situation.
The worker concerned took over the post in 1999. The Union claims that when he got the job it was discovered that he was on €60 per week less than his predecessor (who in turn was the same amount below the Farm Foreman appointed in 1991). One of the Union's problems is that it claims that the worker's rate of pay has never been established. Teagasc argues that the only appropriate Local Authority scale applicable to the worker is that of Chargehand Craftsman, which is the rate that currently applies to Farm Stewards in Teagasc Colleges.
The Union referred the case back to the Court on the 7th of February, 2002. As the issue could not be resolved. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 5th November, 2002, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. Teagasc reduced the worker's rate of pay without any consultation.
2. The worker is currently paid significantly lower than a number of people he supervises.
3. In January, 2002, it was clarified that the posts of Farm Foreman and Craft Maintenance Foreman were both on the same salary. Teagasc's decision to unilaterally break this link is a serious deterioration of the worker's conditions.
4. 1. The duties undertaken by the worker equate to those of a Farm Steward in Teagasc Colleges, and this is why he is on the same payment as Farm Stewards. He supervises the same number of farm staff (10-13) as that grade. His duties and responsibilities have diminished considerably in the last few years.
2. The grade level and pay relationship of Farm Stewards in Teagasc Colleges were agreed in 1996 with the Union.
3. The Union is currently pursuing a claim to have these staff regraded to technician level in Teagasc. The worker concerned does not have the required minimum qualification for this regrading.
The Court was surprised that only one meeting had taken place to try to resolve this issue since LCR16519 was issued in May, 2000. It is clear that no progress has been made by the parties on this matter.
While conscious of the Management view that the post does not now carry the responsibilities held by the previous jobholder, the Court is not convinced that arguments made to justify the rate being paid now have validity.
Taking into account all the information before it, and the background to this case, the Court recommends that the claimant be paid €1,500 per annum on a personal basis, and that the parties meet to agree the future grading for this post.
The proposal is specific to the claimant and does not set a precedent for other cases. It should not be taken as a guideline in the discussions to take place on the rate for this post.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th November, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.