INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION & HUMANITIES ( MARY IMMACULATE LIMERICK AND ST. PATRICK'S COLLEGE DRUMCONDRA)
(REPRESENTED BY MARY IMMACULATE COLLEGE
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION & HUMANITIES ( MARY IMMACULATE LIMERICK AND ST. PATRICK'S COLLEGE DRUMCONDRA))
- AND -
IRISH FEDERATION OF UNIVERSITY TEACHERS
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Improved ratio of higher graded posts at the level of Senior Lecturer, Professor and Assistant Professor.
2. At present the vast bulk, around 80%, of the academic staff at the Colleges concerned, Mary Immaculate College Limerick (MICL) and St Patrick's College Drumcondra (SPCD), are graded as Lecturers and Assistant Lecturers with the remainder graded at higher levels. The Union is claiming that, in accordance with the rule of thumb that applies in Universities, there should be a 60/40 ratio, that is 40% of the staff being graded at Senior Lecturer, Assistant Professor and Professor levels and the remaining 60% being below these levels. The Colleges together with the Department of Education have rejected the claim.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of two conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement could not be reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 9th November, 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 17th December, 2004.
3. 1. The deficiencies in career structure have been a matter of great concern as they have seriously impeded the efficient management and operations of the Colleges.
2. The capacity of the Colleges to respond effectively to the challenges they face in the future will be dependent on the putting in place of an adequate career structure.
3. The restructuring as outlined in the Union submission is not cost- increasing.
4. 1. Management made an offer to the Union by letter dated 13th October, 2003. This offer was not formally rejected by the Union.
2. In the letter of the 13th October 2003 the Colleges stated that they had secured agreement from the HEA for the phasing in, over a 3-year period, of 8 posts at Principal Lecturer level and 27 posts at Senior Lecturer level in each College. The costs for the implementation to be met from existing allocations and not to give rise to a budgetary deficit.
3. The offer already put forward by Management is the best offer available.
The issues in dispute relate to the Union's requirements for greater career progression opportunities for academic staff in the Colleges and sought an improved ratio of higher graded posts at the level of Senior Lecture, Professor and Assistant Professor.
In order to achieve a 60 'junior'/40'senior' ratio the Union sought the following to be implemented:-
- introduction of Professor and Associate Professor grades,
- all Senior Lecturer VII posts to be switched to Senior Lecturer Grade IX,
- introduction of significant increase in number and proportion of senior grades,
- merge Assistant Lecturer and Lecturer grades, with a merit bar.
Therefore, it sought four grades, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer IX, Associate Professor and Professor.
The Court notes that Management accept that the academic career structure needs to reflect the status of the College within the University sector and had accordingly made an offer (subject to 5 conditions) on 13th October 2003, to
-substantially increase the ratio from 82.7% / 17.3% to 68.5% / 31.5% in MICL and in SPCD from 77.5% / 22.5% to 68.5% / 31.5% phased in over the three year period to end of 2005,
- indication from HEA that it is prepared to review the structure further in the light of student numbers and developments in the Colleges in 2006 i.e. post Report of the Public Service Benchmarking Body and Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Service,
The Court is aware that the offer did not meet the Union's need to introduce Professor and Associate Professor grades.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court is of the view that the 13th October 2003 offer represents significant progress on the claim, however, the Court recommends that it should be amended as follows:-
- The proposed structure should be implemented by the end of June 2006.
- Number 5 should read: that the HEA will undertake to continue reviewing the structure in the light of the then existing student numbers and developments in the Colleges over the next three years with a view to achieving the 60/40 ratio, as claimed.
The Court is satisfied that due to the structure of the existing scales and overlap of points, there is scope with the Assistant Lecture and Lecturer scales to meet the Union's concerns and therefore recommends that every effort should be made to meet the Union's claim.
The Court notes the restriction placed on resolving the Union's claim for the establishment of Professor and Associate Professor grades, due to the remuneration policy,vis a visthe President's salary. The Court recommends that this issue should be addressed within the context of the above-mentioned review.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th January, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.