INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
WESTPORT CREDIT UNION
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Staffing Levels, Staff Remuneration
2. The case before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of its members for increases in their rates of pay and for an increase in staffing levels. The current staffing level comprises the Manager and three part-time tellers covering 75 hours in total on a rostered basis. The following ratios are issued as guidelines for staffing costs in Credit Unions.
(1) Staff costs/ Gross income 15%. In Westport Credit Union this ratio comes in at 6%.
(2) Expense/ Gross income 40%. In Westport Credit Union this ratio comes in at 20%.
The data indicates that the staffing levels are insufficient to provide a proper service for the members.
The Union claims that the manager's salary and that of his staff should be substantially increased.
Management rejected the Union's claim.
As the parties failed to reach agreement the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 25th June, 2003, but agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 22nd July, 2003 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute in Castlebar on the 23rd September, 2003.
3. 1. The current staffing levels are inadequate to meet the demands of Westport Credit Union.
2. At last year's AGM the Auditor indicated that there was a need for extra staff together with the appointment of a Credit Controller.
3. There have been occasions where one staff member has manned the office. This is unacceptable from a safety and security perspective.
4. There should be an incremental pay scale for the Manager and his staff and it should be made retrospective to October, 2002.
4. 1. Management reject the notion that staffing levels are too low or that the employees' rates of pay are substantially out of line with Credit Unions of similar size.
2. Following local discussions the Credit Union board made an offer to increase the salary of the staffconcerned. The 2 part-time workers were offered increases to €10.90 and €11.46 per hour respectively. The manager was offered an increase from €15.62 per hour to €16.21 per hour.
3. The proposed new rates of pay will be further increased by 3% under Sustaining Progress from 1st March, 2003.
4. Management's offer is both fair and reasonable. The Court is asked to recommend that the Credit Union's offer should be accepted.
The Court has been asked to decide salaries for the staff and the Manager at the Credit Union without having an imput as to how salaries are arrived at across the broad Credit Union movement.
While the employer has produced a range of salaries for Management posts the Court finds it strange that the criteria used seems to centre on the number of people managed, rather than any measurement of the financial transactions of the operation. The Court notes that the Managers role has diminished in recent times and that the salary offered to the Manager is at the lowest rung of the scale.
The Court having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties is conscious of the poor interpersonal relationships between the Board and the staff and would urge that the parties try to address this problem as a priority, possibly with the assistance of a third party.
In addition the Court recommends that discussions should take place on the roles of the employees and should clarify the Board’s requirements and non-requirements of all post holders.
The discussions should include an examination of the pay structure as against other similiar operations within the Credit Union movement with possibly assistance from the Central Office of the Credit Union, in order to verify the comparisons that are being made with other offices.
If at the end of this period the parties have failed to reach agreement then the matter can be referred back to the Court.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
15th October, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.