INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES BOARD (LGMSB)
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. 1. Branch Librarians to be appointed Library Assistants.
2. Entry grade for employees with qualifications to be raised from Grade V to Grade VI.
2. Following the publication of the report"Branching Out A New Public Library Service"and discussions with Management relating to the implementation of the report, the Union has two claims outstanding:-
- The conversion of all Branch Librarians to Library Assistants and
- The raising of the qualification entry level from Grade V to Grade VI.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and 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 17th April, 2003 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 30th July, 2003, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3.1Branch Librarians to be appointed as Library Assistants.
Branch Librarians have been a part of the Library structure for many years. They were originally recruited to service the branch offices. They would have undertaken a range of extra duties including acting as caretaker. Over the years the nature and extent of duties and responsibilities carried out by branch librarians has changed.
2. The Union has sought the abolition of the post of Branch Librarian because of the very similar work(now identical in many Local Authorities)undertaken by them in comparison to Library Assistant.
3. The Union has offered to agree a scheme with Management that would see these extra duties currently undertaken by Branch Librarians continue in operation for a period, before being phased out.
1.Entry Grade for Employees to be raised from Grade V to Grade VI.
The Union is seeking to have those Grade V employees, who currently hold the librarian qualification be upgraded to Grade VI and that future qualified librarian posts would be filled by way of recruitment at Grade VI.
2, This would bring the Local Authority Service into line with the Institutes of Technology and would represent a fair evaluation of the professional library qualification in the context of today's Local Authority structures.
4.1Branch Librarians to be appointed as Library Assistants.
Management are prepared to offer improved promotional opportunities for Branch Librarians to allow for access to both Library Assistant and Senior Library Assistant level for those Branch Librarians who have in excess of two years service at Branch Librarian level.
2.It is Management's view that Branch Librarians will continue to be a feature in the library service, in order to ensure the ongoing delivery of a comprehensive public library service.
3. Branch Librarians provide greater flexibility in terms of their role than that provided by Library Assistants. The Union will not commit to deliver this flexibility on an ongoing basis if their claim is successful.
1.Entry Levelemployees to be raised from Grade V to Grade VI.
Management argues that there is no justifiable case for moving the qualification entry level for qualified librarians from Grade V to Grade VI. It would be in breach of commitments given by the Union when it signed up to both the Programme for Prosperity & Fairness and Sustaining Progress.
2. Management have made a comprehensive offer to the Union, which they believe is fair and reasonable in the circumstances to deliver a more
modern and inclusive public library service:
- The creation of a Grade VII Librarian post within the library service.
- A post of Staff Officer (Grade V) for which a library qualification would not be required.
The Court has considered the oral and written submissions of the parties and makes the following recommendations on the two claims before it.
Branch Librarians to be appointed as Library Assistants.
The Court is not convinced that there is justification for the abolition of Branch Librarians grade. One of the essential differences between the grades of Branch Librarian and Library Assistant is the flexibility requirement included in the post of Branch Librarian which both sides accept has beneficial aspects to it. The Court does not accept that this flexibility should be lost and therefore does not recommend acceptance of the claim.
The Court notes that over the last number of years as a result of improved terms of pay and conditions of employment for Branch Librarians, this grade now enjoys common pay rates and similar conditions with the Library Assistant grade. However, the Court is of the view that the differences between the grades is not clear and the applicability of which post should apply in certain cases is not clear, accordingly, the Court recommends that job descriptions for these grades should be drawn up to ensure clarity when a position is being filled, whether it is at Branch Librarian or Library Assistant grade.
Entry Grade for Employees with qualifications to be raised from Grade V to Grade VI.
The Union claim that the entry level for those who hold a professional librarian qualification should be at Grade VI. The consequences of which the Union claim would mean that current Grade V holders should be upgraded to Grade VI and that future posts would be filled by way of recruitment at Grade VI. Management was prepared to look at liaising with interested parties and review the appropriate qualifications requirement and entry point but was not prepared to consider upgrades for all Grade V post holders.
The Court takes the view that this claim is effectively a claim for regrading, the consequences of which would automatically affect the current jobholders. Consequently, the Court is of the view that it is not the appropriate forum for consideration of such a claim.
In an effort to resolve this claim, the Court recommends that an independent body should be commissioned to review the entry-level grade at which there should be a requirement for a professional qualification based on objective comparisons in the public sector. Agreed terms of reference should be drawn up between the parties.
The process should not meet with any delays and should be completed within six months of the date of this recommendation. If at the expiry of this process the issue remains unresolved the matter may be referred back to the Court.
The Court recommends that these recommendations should be included in Management's offer of 25th July, 2002, together with clarification letter dated 20th January, 2003, and should be accepted by both sides in resolution of this dispute.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
15th August, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.