INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
DUBLIN FIRE BRIGADE
(REPRESENTED BY DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner's recommendation IR14226/03/LM
2. The issue involves a worker who is a Fire Fighter with Dublin Fire Brigade. In 1998 he was a candidate for promotion to Sub-Officer. The promotional process concluded in 2001. The worker is in dispute with his employer regarding the promotional procedures used, in relation to:
- On-station assessment
- A self assessment form
- Marks on examination
The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On the 17th July, 2003, the Rights Commissioner issued her recommendation as follows:
“Having considered the oral and written evidence submitted at the hearing and taking all the circumstances into account, I uphold the position of Dublin City Council. As a consequence the claim fails".
- On the 1st August, 2003 the Union appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 13th November, 2003.
3.1 The worker was aware of his on-station assessment mark from his Officer and was happy with this. He is unaware how a Third Officer could have reduced this mark when (a) he had not been working with this person, (b) he had been out sick for the period in question.
2. The worker did not sign off on the assessment form as required by the procedure and was unaware of the change in marks. This ensured he did not have the right to question the validity of the changed mark. After repeated requests the worker did receive his total marks which only then showed the changed assessment. The requirement that each candidate should sign off on the assessment form is critical to the evaluation. This had been deliberately overlooked.
3. The worker maintains that there was no correct answer for question 11 on the examination, and that he had ticked off the correct answer for question 27 as per the study manual. This incorrect marking by Management denied him another two (2) crucial marks.
4.1 Following the announcement of the panel for Sub Officer and the nature of the worker's grievance raised by both himself and the Union, Management felt that an independent investigation was warranted. An investigation took place and a Report was issued.
2. The Report concluded that Management were correct to use the assessment for the period from 01/01/1999 to 30/06/1999 as this was the last assessment at which the worker was at work prior to the promotional process.
3. The Report also concluded that in relation to the examination and personal experience of the worker, there was no fault with the marks in both categories.
4. Management does accept that the worker should have been afforded the opportunity to sign off on the assessment form but they do not believe that this invalidated the process.
It is acknowledged by the City Council that there were some technical irregularities in certain aspects of the competition as it affected the claimant. The Council subsequently commissioned an external investigation by an independent third party into the complaints made by the Union in relation to the competition. This investigation concluded that such irregularities as had occurred did not materially affect the result of the competition.
In the circumstances the Court is of the view that the Council acted reasonably and in accordance with good practice in its response to what occurred. The Court has no reason to believe that the Council's conclusion that the validity of the competition was not materially affected, is unreasonable and unsound.
Accordingly, the Court affirms the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner and the appeal is disallowed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.