INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ST CATHERINE'S COLLEGE
(REPRESENTED BY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
2. St. Catherine's College is involved in the teaching of home economics to about 100 students. The dispute concerns a claim on behalf of the worker who is Secretary to the College President for regrading from Staff Officer (S.O.) to Higher Executive Officer (H.E.O.). The Union maintains that since 1998 when the post in question was upgraded to S.O. the levels of responsibility and complexity of the work involved have become more appropriate to the grade of HEO, and that the worker has taken on a range of additional duties. The Union states that the post has been linked for grading and salary purposes to equivalent posts in St. Patrick's Drumcondra and Mary Immaculate, Limerick. These posts have been upgraded to Executive Officer (E.O.), although the responsibilities attached to them have been changed to secretarial duties only.
The College rejects the claim on the grounds that it is precluded under Sustaining Progress and that it is cost increasing. This post has seen two upgrades, one in 1993 and the other in 1997.
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 29th April, 2004 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 22nd September, 2004.
3.1 The range of duties carried out by the worker is at a high level and carries a high level of responsibility. The College have not denied or disputed the level of responsibility or duties that the worker carries out.
2. The Union does not accept that this claim is precluded under Sustaining Programme and that this is a 'minor claim'.
3. The claim only applied to this individual worker, as the College is due to close there will no be 'knock-on' effect within the College.
4. The Department of Education & Science has recognised in other colleges the importance of the role of Secretary to the President and has upgraded the staff, while at the same time removing the non-secretarial duties. The worker is still carrying out the higher level duties, but on a lower salary.
5. The worker has co-operated and worked with her employer in taking on additional duties. She was left with the impression that like her colleagues in the other colleges, her position would be reviewed and graded appropriately.
4.1 The Union is a party to the national pay agreements and this post has benefited from the increases associated with national agreement awards and the benchmarking process.
2. The Union must adhere to all of the provisions in these agreements, in particular to changes in the post, envisaged by modernisation and flexibility clauses therein.
3. This is a cost increasing claim, which is precluded under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, Sustaining Progress and should have been subsumed within the benchmarking process.
4. The worker has benefited from significant up-gradings in recent years.
5. There is no justification for further upgrades.
The Court is satisfied that the claim is a minor claim and is not precluded by the stabilisation provisions of the public sector pay agreement associated with Sustaining Progress.
It is noted that in independent assessment of the claimant's post undertaken in 1993 the corresponding posts in other colleges were taken as an appropriate reference point. There is nothing in the latest revision of this assessment to indicate that those colleges have ceased to be relevant for comparison purposes. The equivalent staff in two of the colleges in question are now regraded at Executive Officer level. Having regard to this and the additional duties assigned to the claimant the Court recommends that her post be regraded to that of Executive Officer (Civil Service).
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.