INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Long Service Increments.
2. The dispute concerns four workers who were previously employed in An Bord Trachtala (ABT). It concerns the Union's claim in relation to the application and entitlement of an LSI (3) for the four workers. Enterprise Ireland (EI) was created in 1998 following the amalgamation of Forbairt, ABT and a small number of FAS workers. A Harmonisation Agreement was negotiated with SIPTU in 1999 which provided for the harmonisation of a large number of grades that existed in the former agencies resulting in a new grading structure. The grades were Level D 'Solution' for existing staff and Level D 'Future' for new entrants. The claimants were placed on Level D 'Future' although they were existing staff. The claimants were employed in ABT as Grade 4's. While in ABT they were successful in their claim for upgrading from ABT 3 to ABT 4. They received a Memo while in ABT dated 25th May, 1998 confirming qualification for LSI's on the ABT 4 scale . The memo stated "...as you already received the LSI's on Grade 3, you do not need to qualify for these increments again on the new scale." The Union claimed that the terms for qualification for the LSI's, as outlined in the 1998 Memo, should be applied to the claimants in EI. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held but agreement was not reached.The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 30th July, 2004 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 15th October, 2004.
3. 1. The Memo of 28th May, 1998 is very clear in its application to the claimants. Having served their time on ABT Grade 3, due credit was awarded and when they moved to Grade 4 they were not obliged to serve this time again. This information was given to the claimants eight weeks before their transfer to EI.
2. Section 39 of the Industrial Development (Enterprise Ireland) Act, 1998 sub-section (i) and (ii) deals with the transfer of ABT staff and provides that terms and conditions of employment transfer in full, except whereby improvements or otherwise are negotiated by a union etc. There is no reference in the Harmonisation Agreement or anywhere else which would alter the status of the Memo of 28th May, 1998.
3. Ex ABT staff went on the "Future" Level D scale as opposed to the "Solution" Level D scale, creating an immediate anomaly which took two years to be addressed.
4. The claim is unique and 'ring fenced' as it only affects the four claimants.
4. 1. The Union is seeking to have a condition which related to the claimants' former ABT grade applied to their new EI grade. The Memo of 25th May 1998 relates to grades which existed in ABT and no longer exist in EI. Arrangements which applied to grades which existed in former agencies, unless otherwise agreed, do not apply to EI grades.
2. In the claimants' case the condition was honoured by ABT. The claimants did not have to spend three years on the maximum of ABT 4 to qualify for the LSI (3). They were then incorporated onto the Level D scale, their salary point within the Min.-Max. range. They then progressed along the Level D scale and are now at the maximum of the scale.They are due to progress to LSI (3) in January, 2006. From January, 2007 they will progress via normal "Solution" increments to €64,882 at current values, not including awards due on 1st December, 2004 under Sustaining Progress. The mechanism for assimilation onto the new grading structure for these staff is consistent with that which applied to other staff.
3. Staff have benefited considerably from the transfer. There has been a substantial increase in their maximum achievable salary. The Harmonisation exercise led to a revised salary maximum (including 'Solution' increments) of €64,882. This represents an increase of approximately 38% compared with their former salary. The claimants have not been disadvantaged in any way.
4. Concession of the claim would lead to knock-on claims from other groups.
In support of its claim for the application of the Long Service Increment to ex-ABT Grade 4, who were assimilated on to the newly established Level D grade, the Union relied on a memorandum sent to staff in 1998, which placed them on the Long Service Increment without waiting to qualify at the time.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court accepts the Employer's contention that the 1998 arrangement was in the context of a successful regrading claim at that time and cannot be considered as a commitment in the event of future assimilations, going forward.
Therefore, the Court does not see merit in the claim and rejects the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th October, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.