INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Clerical grade III allowances
2. The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of it's members, employed as grade III clerical administrative staff, for payment of the higher allowance.
The higher allowance is currently being paid to workers in the same grade represented by another Union.The Union claims that an allowance be paid to all people in the same category and grade of employment.
Teagasc rejects the claim on the basis that it is cost increasing.
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 7th July 2003, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 26th September 2003, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Union maintains that the allowance should apply to all clerical administrative grade III staff equally and the situation whereby only workers represented by one union receive it, is totally unacceptable.
2. The workers concerned should receive the allowance paid to the other union members, with full retrospection from July 2002
3. The Union has identified a post which may be suppressed to allow payment of such allowances on a cost neutral basis.
4. 1. Management offered to enter into discussions with the union concerned with a view to possibly introducing a number of allowances for administrative staff on a cost neutral basis.
2. The union advised Management that they did not wish to enter into discussions on the introduction of allowances if it involved suppressing posts.
3. The claim is cost increasing and therefore debarred under the terms of Sustaining Progress.
The Court notes that discussions between Management, the claimants and another Union had taken place in relation to an upgrading, on a no cost basis. The proposals were unacceptable to this particular Union but the other Union subsequently arrived at an agreement to enable upgradings to take place for their members.
The Court believes that it is an unsatisfactory situation to have one group receiving an upgrading by virtue of timing, having agreed the proposals before the shutters came down and the other group being precluded because of the embargo.
The Court accepts that circumstances have changed, that there is an embargo, that recruitment and cost cutting is part of the Company operation, but it cannot understand why Management refuses to accept any proposal made by the Union, even if it is cost neutral. Management had previously indicated a willingness to agree these upgradings provided they were self-funded.
While circumstances have changed in the Company, the Court given that Management were not originally arguing against upgrading, recommends that Management consider any proposals that the Union might make to finance this upgrading on a cost neutral basis.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st October, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jo O'Connor, Court Secretary.