INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Benchmarking payments
2. The Union's claim is for the application of benchmarking to Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) staff in Partnership Organisations - in this case KWCD Area Partnership and Tralee Partnership. LDSIP staff are mainly funded by Area Development Management (ADM) Limited. Although KWCD staff are represented by IMPACT and Tralee staff by SIPTU, both cases are identical and were heard at one Labour Court hearing. A total of 38 Area Partnerships receive funding and support from ADM. The two Partnerships in the present case are representative of the 38 Partnerships.
Both employers stated that they had no objection in principle to the application of the benchmarking: the problem was that they could not get funding from ADM Limited. Staff in ADM Limited who were represented by IMPACT first raised the question of benchmarking in 2003 and this was eventually applied to them. Members in the Area Partnership then approached the Unions seeking that benchmarking would also be applied to them. The dispute was the subject of two conciliation conferences at the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 9th of December, 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 3rd of March, 2005.
3. 1. Area Partnership staff have always followed ADM Limited pay movement.
2. Local Employment Services (LES) staff who also work for Area Partnerships and have a FAS relationship have recently been awarded benchmarking. If the same is not awarded to staff in the 38 Area Partnerships there will be major tensions and problems.
3. The Area Partnerships are designated Public Bodies under the law. Staff in other State bodies have all been granted access to benchmarking recently (details supplied to the Court).
4. 1. KWCD Partnership , in principle, is not opposed to the application of benchmarking increases to its LDSIP staff. However, it will not be in a position to fund this substantial increase in labour costs without the appropriate funding from ADM Limited and it appears that this funding will not be forthcoming.
2. If the Court does recommend in favour of the Union's claim, certain conditions will have to be met (details supplied to the Court).
The Unions submitted claims for the application of Benchmarking to Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) staff employed in Area Partnership companies. Area Development Management (ADM) Limited are the primary source of funding to LDSIP. The employer side indicated their need for funding in order to finance these increases in pay and referred to ADM's difficulties in securing this funding.
However, the employer side had no objection, in principle, to the application of Benchmarking. They outlined certain conditions which should apply in the event that the Court recommended in favour of the claim. The Court notes that these conditions were acceptable to the Unions. The conditions are as follows-:
- The Companies should be permitted to negotiate a significant modernisation and flexibility agenda with all relevant Trade Unions and such an agenda should provide for offsetting measures to assist with protecting the future viability of the Partnerships.
- Under no circumstances should the Partnership's LDSIP staff end up with a rate of pay after Benchmarking in excess of that provided to those in the public service with whom the Partnership staff are being aligned to.
The Court notes that by letter dated 17th February, 2005, FAS had secured funding to pay Benchmarking awards to Local Employment Services (LES) staff, "subject to conditions on co-operation with modernisation and industrial relations stability and verification of satisfactory achievement of targets in relation to ongoing change and flexibility".LES staff also work for the Area Partnerships and work alongside LDSIP staff.
The Court does not accept that one group of workers should be disadvantaged and, accordingly, recommends that the principle of Benchmarking should be accepted and implemented by the Area Partnership companies. The Court recommends that the two conditions laid down, as outlined above, should be the subject of local negotiations, with agreement being reached on marker grades and implementation dates.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th March, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.