INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
PROMETRIC IRELAND LIMITED
- AND -
GROUP OF WORKERS
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Pay, allocation of working hours, disciplinary and grievance procedures.
The Company is involved in administrating computer-based drivers licence theory test examination for the Department of Transport. It has sixteen fixed test administration locations, and twenty six other testing locations served by mobile testing vans. The Company employs fifty five test centre employees, of whom fifty two work part time hours ranging from twenty to sixty eight per month.
The case involves three issues as follows:
The Company states that the current pay rates apply: Test Centre Manager - €12.97 per hour, Mobile Manager - €11.59 per hour and Test Centre Assistants/Administrators - €10.09 per hour (the Union's figure for the Assistant/Administrator is €10.98 per hour). The Union claims that the National Pay Agreements do not apply and it is seeking that they should apply with due retrospection.
(2).Allocation of working hours:
The Union claims that an undertaking was given that the hours of work would generally be in the region of full time hours i.e: 36-39 hours per week. At the moment the average hours worked are considerably less.
(3).Disciplinary and grievance procedures :
The Union claims that the present procedures do not comply with the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act, 2001, and Disputes Resolution Process (S.I. 145 and S.I. 146 of 2000).
The Company believes that its pay rates are fair although it accepts that the National Pay Agreements have not applied over the last few years. It hopes to increase the hours of work in the future. The Company introduced an Employee Partnership Forum in 2001 which allows employees to raise issues with the management team.
The Union referred its case to the Labour Court on the 29th of April, 2004, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 14th of July, 2004. The Union agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
3. 1.Pay:Driver testing grades 1 and 2 in the Department of Transport are paid wages ranging from €15.21 per hour to €20.57 per hour. Motor tax office employee's are paid an hourly rate ranging from €12.36 to €18.88. These wages are considerably higher than those applying to the workers concerned.
2.Allocation of working hours:The Union believes that the working hours should be on a more structured footing. Employees in other test centres e.g: Dublin, Cork, and Dublin North Centre work almost full time office hours.
3.Disciplinary and grievance procedures:The appropriate Codes of Practice should apply. The Company's present proceedings (details supplied to the Court) are not acceptable.
4. 1Pay:The current rates of pay applying are the National rate. Where applicable, expenses and subsistence are also paid. Employee's have received a 9% pay increase over the last 3 years.
2.Allocation of working procedures:The Company is hopeful that business will increase by up to 40%. Presuming this happens, the hours worked should increase significantly.
3.Grievance and disciplinary procedures:The Company has recently reviewed and revised its Employee Partnership Forum, and representatives are working with Human Resources to address employee's concerns. The Company is also working with the Labour Relations Commission in regard to its Code of Practice.
The Court has considered the submissions of both sides. The claims before the Court relate to the issues of pay, allocation of working hours and the disciplinary and grievance procedures. At the hearing, the Company clarified its position on these issues as follows:-
The Company is of the view that the rates of pay for Test Centre Managers and Test Centre Assistants are competitive when compared with similar administrative and clerical positions. The Company accepts that the review of salaries over the last three years has not been in line with the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) or Sustaining Progress (SP) and has indicated to the Court that it is willing, in consultation with its Employee Partnership Forum, to discuss a mechanism of meeting that shortfall retrospectively, through a phasing arrangement.
Allocation of Working Hours
The Company is prepared to negotiate, on an individual basis, new contracts on hours of work which will increase the minimum number of hours to reflect the level of business in particular centres.
Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures
The Company stated to the Court that it is at present actively working with the Labour Relations Commission to draw up new Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures which will conform to the general provisions of the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures (S.I. No 146 of 2000). The Company accepts that the procedures will provide for trade union representation in processing individual grievances and disciplinary matters, where an employee wishes to avail of such representation.
The Company indicated its intention to have these matters finalised by the end of September, 2004.
The Court is of the view that in light of the claims before the Court, the Company's current position on all three issues is reasonable and should be accepted by the Union in respect of those employees in its membership. The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27th July, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.