INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Rates of pay
2. The case before the Court concerns a claim by three College Farm Stewards in Teasgasc Agricultural Colleges for the same rate of pay as Research Technicians (Farm Managers) in Teagasc Research Centres.
The Union claims that there is no significant difference in the work carried out by College Farm Stewards and the Research Technicians (Farm Managers).
The Company states that the work of Research Technicians (Farm Managers) is of a technical nature and demands a higher level of detail and understanding.
The dispute 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 9th of September, 2002 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 14th of February, 2003 the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Company has not produced a detailed description of the work carried out by Research Technicians (Farm Managers) for research centres.
2. College Farm Stewards are involved in research field trials on College farms performing the same duties as Research Technicians (Farm Managers).
3. The Union has a detailed account of the duties and responsibilities of the College Farm Steward. The Company has not presented any documentation or evidence on which to have a reasonable assessment of the relative value of both positions.
4. College Farm Stewards are not prepared to accept the old equivalence with the Craft Chargehand rate-Local Authority despite having accepted the LRC proposal of the 29th of January, 1996. The worker's argue this ultimatum was accepted because of the serious financial situation these members found themselves in at that time.
5. The work performed by College Farm Stewards is "like work" with that performed by Research Technicians (Farm Managers) and there is no justification for any pay difference.
6. The only way to resolve the situation is through the appointment of an independent assessor to evaluate both posts.
4. 1. The work of Research Technicians (Farm Manager) employed on Research Centres is of a technical nature and demands a higher degree of detail and understanding of research programs.
2.The Research Technician (Farm Manager) is responsible for ensuring that farming operations are carried out in accordance with the scientific requirements of the research programs.
3. The College Farm Stewards accepted the L.R.C offer in January, 1996 in "full and final settlement" of their claim.
4. In 2001, the College Farm Stewards received a special pay increase under the Analogue Agreement which provides for a moratorium on any further claims for the duration of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF). This present claim is in breach of that agreement.
5. College Farm Stewards share a relativity with Craft grades throughout the Public Service and the claim, if conceded, could lead to knock-on claims within the Public Sector.
In the circumstances of this case the Court is of the view that it is appropriate to undertake an evaluation of the posts in question.
The terms of reference of the review, the range or posts used as comparators and the body or person(s) to undertake the exercise should be agreed between the parties. Furthermore, it should be understood by all parties that this evaluation does not imply any commitment to any adjustment in rates of pay for the grade in question. It should also be understood that the implementation of any findings of the evaluation will be subject to the terms of all relevant national or local agreements.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th of March, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Carmel McManus, Court Secretary.