INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
MAYO COUNTY COUNCIL
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Requirements for appointment as waterworks caretaker.
2. The worker commenced employment with the Council in 1996 as a General Operative and was appointed to the position of Ganger in 2001. In 2003 he applied for the vacant post of Caretaker Grade V in Ballinrobe. He was subsequently informed that he was ineligible for interview as he did not meet the qualifications on educational grounds. The Union sought a meeting with management, which clarified the qualification necessary as follows:-
"Candidates shall have obtained at least Grade D (or a pass) in Higher or Ordinary level in Five Subjects from the approved list of subjects in the Department of Education established Leaving Certificate Examination or have Passed an examination of at least equivalent standard".
The Union asked for the appointment of the post to be postponed pending a referral to the Labour Relations Commission, and a conciliation conference took place. (The post was subsequently filled). As the parties did not reach agreement the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 7th of April, 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 2nd of December, 2004, in Castlebar, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. It has been necessary for weekend cover - i.e. 48 hours - to be provided on a fortnightly basis in recent times inBallinrobe. The worker concerned has provided such cover on four separate occasions.
2. The Union believes that the worker's exclusion from interview for the post of Caretaker was unfair and a result of a unilateral decision by management.
3. The subject of qualification for the job should be the subject of discussion between the parties.
4. 1. It is a matter for the Council under Section 160 of the Local Government Act, 2001, to declare qualification for positions such as Caretaker Grade V.
2. The Council could not accommodate the worker as it would have been unfair to other applicants who were not interviewed for similar reasons, or who did not apply for the job when they became aware of the qualifications.
3. In December, 2003, the Council, having considered the Union's position, decided to review the qualifications so that a Leaving Certificate or equivalent would be desirable but not essential.
Following the rejection of a candidate for a Caretaker position due to the County Council's requirement for the successful candidate to have obtained at least grade D in five subjects at Leaving Certificate level, the Union submitted that the introduction of this requirement was not agreed and prevented some workers from applying for the position. The Union sought that any such changes should be by agreement at central level and not as a result of a unilateral decision by management.
The Court notes that in December, 2003, when a similar subsequent vacancy arose for a Caretaker, the County Council, having considered the Union's position, decided to review the qualifications and made a change which stated that a Leaving Certificate would be desirable but not essential.
The Court also notes that at the hearing the County Council agreed that all future changes in job requirement criteria would be discussed at local level with the Union in advance of any changes being made.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court recommends that the Union should accept the commitment given by the County Council at the Court hearing.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
17th December, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.