INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
WATERFORD COUNTY COUNCIL
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR10329/02/GF.
2. The worker concerned qualified as a Veterinary Inspector in 1986. She was appointed by Waterford County Council to the post of Veterinary Inspector on the 7th of January, 1991 at the minimum of the pay scale. She was previously employed as an Inspector by another County Council from the 12th of March, 1990 until the 6th of January, 1991 at the minimum of the pay scale.
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of the worker for incremental credit for four years post qualification experience. The Council argues that the worker concerned accepted the post on the minimum pay scale.
The issue was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. His recommendation issued on the 11th of December, 2002.
He recommended that she should be awarded the deficit she incurred in her salary since the commencement of her employment with Waterford County Council.
The Council appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 17th of January, 2003, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 21st of March, 2003, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Council discussed the matter of incremental credit for postgraduate experience with the worker concerned prior to her appointment and concluded that no such increments could be offered.
2. The worker concerned accepted the post in the full knowledge that she would be appointed to the post on the minimum of the pay scale.
3. Concession of the claim would set a precedent and would have serious repercussive effects within the Local Authority sector.
4. 1. Colleagues recruited in other Local Authorities at the same time as the worker concerned were placed on higher points of the Veterinary Inspector's salary scale.
2. The worker concerned should be treated in the same way as her colleagues in other Local Authorities.
3. The worker's post graduate experience should count for incremental purposes.
Another Local Authority initially employed the claimant and that Authority determined her starting salary. Nevertheless, the Court accepts that over the course of her employment Waterford County Council had the benefit of the claimant's post qualification experience for which she had not been given incremental credit. The Court further accepts that she had been treated differently to others in that respect who had benefited from the exercise of the discretion to credit such service.
There was clearly an inordinate delay on the part of the claimant in pursuing her claim. For this reason, the Court does not accept that the level of arrears recommended by the Rights Commissioner is justified. In the circumstances, the Court upholds the Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner but determines that arrears of salary
arising from the implementation of the recommendation be confined to that accruing in the six years preceding the date of referral to the Rights Commissioner.
To that extent the appeal is allowed and the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation is varied accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd April, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.