INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
DEPT OF EDUCATION & SCIENCE
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. 5% special increase in Sligo and Athlone.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of Senior Management Grades employed at the Athlone and Sligo Institutes of Technology, for the application of higher rates of pay in line with their colleagues in other Colleges.
- The Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector was established in 1969 and its primary function is to advise the Government on the general levels of remuneration appropriate to higher public servants. In 2001 the Review Body concluded a Report on remuneration of higher-level posts in the third level education sector, which resulted in certain Colleges (Cork, Galway/Mayo and Waterford) with numbers above a certain threshold receiving rates of 5% above those of other Colleges, but excluded the two Claimant Colleges.
The Union is now seeking retrospective application of the higher rates as the threshold set out in the report has been exceeded in the two Claimant Colleges since 2001. Management rejects the claim.
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 10th February, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 28th October, 2005, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3.1. Pay levels for Senior Management Level were dealt with as per list B of the Benchmarking Bodies Report. This contradicts the Minister for Education’s letter stating “that proposed changes in categorisation of Senior Management posts in the Institutes will be determined in the context of any future workings of the Working Group”.
2. The Department of Education has no right to unilaterally alter the agreed criteria as per the original Report. The Department is in breach of normal industrial relations and Clause 21.12 of Sustaining Progress.
3. There were no discussions on the change to the criteria and no consideration of the reviews. Management does not have the right to set aside the agreed Report. The Court is requested to recommend that the terms of the agreed Report should be implemented with effect from the 1st September, 2001, for the grades involved in this claim.
4.1. The position of both the Ministers for Education and Science and Finance is that there is no basis for changing the salary levels of Directors of Institutes of Technology which result from the recommendations of the Review Body and the decision of the Government to accept and implement those recommendations. The Review Body recommended two levels of salary and identified the Institutes to which both levels applied.
2. The Claimants sought and agreed to their inclusion in the review. They participated in the review and made submission to the Review Body, including the presentation of oral evidence. It is unacceptable that the Claimants should now attempt to overturn the recommendations of the Review Body. Its recommendations supersede all previous relationships and findings in respect of the grade.
3. It would be totally inappropriate to concede this claim and thus interfere with the recommendations of the Review Body which carried out exhaustive and independent examination of the posts covered by its terms of reference. Concession of the claim would also have serious implications for the coherent pay structure for senior public service posts arising from the Government’s acceptance of the recommendations of the Report.
The Court has given careful consideration to the submissions of the parties to the dispute.
Whilst Arbitration Report No. 19 did not specifically relate to the pay of College Principals, the criterion of 225 whole-time equivalent teachers has since been accepted and applied as determinative of the salary scale applicable to the grades associated with this claim. This criterion has not been amended nor superseded by any subsequent agreement and in the Court's view it remains the appropriate reference point for determining whether the higher or lower scale should apply.
In these circumstances the Court is satisfied that the Union's claim is reasonable and should be conceded. The Court recommends accordingly.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
17th November, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.