INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
ROSCOMMON COUNTY COUNCIL
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Parity of pay and conditions and priority for permanent appointments with full time employees.
2. Roscommon County Council employs 18 workers on a Job Initiative Scheme (JIS). The scheme commenced in May, 2000, and is funded for training and labour costs by FAS. The objective of the scheme is to help long-term unemployed people re-enter the active workforce. Participants in the scheme continue to maintain their benefits, i.e. Child Dependence Allowance, Family Income Supplement and the Medical Card. The scheme will expire in May, 2003.
- The Union seeks parity of pay and conditions for its members, together with priority for full time employment for participants of the scheme. The Council believes that it is applying the scheme in the correct manner as employees’ pay and conditions, are determined by FAS. The Council appoint permanent staff by way of open competition.
- The Union referred the case to the Labour Court on the 7th June, 2002, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place in Athlone on the 15th October, 2002, the earliest date suitable to both parties. The Union agreed to be bound by the Court’s recommendation.
3. 1. The Scheme was approved by us subject to our right to represent the members.
2. Employees on the Job Initiative Scheme (JIS) are paid less than their counterparts employed by Roscommon County Council. The JIS employees and the regular County Council employees occasionally work alongside each other.
3. JIS employees are used to fill any gaps that appear in the service provided by the regular workers.
4. The Sick Pay Scheme applied to JIS employees is 2 weeks per year, regular County Council employees have a 12 weeks per year. This scheme has caused hardship to some of the members.
5. The JIS employees have given good service to the County Council over the last two years and should therefore be considered for permanent appointment.
4. 1.The Council participated in the scheme to support the Government initiative because it was fully funded, with no additional cost to the Council. If this condition changed the Council would have to question it's participation in the scheme.
2. Concession of the claim would have national implications, particularly for statutory bodies who sponsor such schemes.
3. FAS allows up to 14 days sick pay per year for JIS employees, the Council is not in a position to increase this.
4. Permanent appointment as a General Operative is by way of open competition. Suitability has to be the criterion used for selection of temporary or permanent posts.
5. The workers concerned were aware that the positions they hold are on a fixed term contract. The participants in the scheme have the same opportunity as other individuals to apply for General Operative posts as and when they are advertised.
While the Union is dissatisfied with the pay and conditions applying to its members, the Court is satisfied that these were known at the time of introduction of the Scheme. The Court accepts that the Union at the time did indicate its intention to raise these issues.
It has been made clear by the Employer that it only entered into the Scheme to support the Government initiative and on the clear understanding that it would involve no additional cost to the Council.
On the question of the claim of priority for full employment, the Employer states that there is no mechanism to waive open competition. The Union states there are precedents for such an action.
The Court does not recommend concession of the pay and conditions claim but noting that this scheme expires in May 2003, recommends that this claim be raised at that time, if a new scheme is put in place.
In relation to the Priority for Full Employment the Court recommends that the Employer while adhering to its Open Competition policy, take into account the working record of people in this Scheme, when making appointments.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th October, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Caroline Hayes, Court Secretary.