INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
UCD STUDENTS' UNION
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Filling of a vacancy.
2. The dispute concerns the filling of a vacancy in the science shop ( one of five) owned by the UCD Students' Union (the employer). It became vacant in November, 2001, and the Students' Union advertised the position internally. Four staff applied - 2 from grade A (sales assistants) and 2 from grade C, the supervisory grade. However, SIPTU wants to continue the practice of filling promotional posts on the basis of seniority and service i.e. it should first be offered to those on the C scale and, thereafter, open to those on the A scale.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 12th of August, 2002, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 29th of October, 2002.
3. 1. The Union expected that the position would be filled in the normal way, i.e. those on the supervisory/management, grade C would have first option on the basis of service. Instead, the employer sent an internal memorandum to staff advertising the job and also stating the wage for the position.
2. There are staff on the C scale who are interested and willing to fill the post. They have already proven their ability to work at management level.
3. The Union's proposal is not cost increasing as it involves filling the post with someone already on the C scale.
4. The exclusion of a number of long-service staff from filling the post has had a damaging effect on morale.
4. 1. The employer wishes to offer its customers the best service possible and to remain competitive. This means staffing the shop with the best available personnel.
2. If supervisory grades are always to be given to senior staff, as the Union wishes, this will block any promotional outlet for junior staff.
3. The Employer wishes to advertise the vacant post (and future posts) internally at first and, if no suitable applications are received, then advertise it externally. This has been the practice in all recent vacancies, despite the Union's contention that it should be filled in accordance with "our existing agreement i.e. internal competition within the grade."
It is clear to the Court that the Management's business requirements are changing, taking into account the financial state of the organisation. It is less clear that the staff have been given the necessary information and opportunity to discuss Management's plans.
In the background, a number of other areas in dispute have not been addressed by the parties.
The Court recommends that the parties enter into immediate comprehensive discussions to cover their wider agendas. The matter in dispute in this case should be addressed in the context of these comprehensive discussions.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27th November, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.