INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
TIPPERARY JOINT LIBRARY COMMITTEE
(REPRESENTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES BOARD)
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Filling of Vacancies
2. The dispute before the Court relates to a claim by the Union on behalf of its members for the filling of vacancies at Library Assistant Level by the Tipperary Joint Library Committee (TJLC). The TJLC is responsible for the provision of library services within the administrative areas of North and South Tipperary. An agreement was reached between the Union and the TJLC at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) in 2002 in relation to the filling of vacancies. The Union contends that this agreement involved the filling of four Senior Library Assistant Level vacancies and the consequential vacancies at Library Assistant Level. To date the only part of the agreement implemented has been the filling of the Senior Library Assistant positions. Management accepts the Union's claim but contends that full implementation of the proposal including the provision of additional posts was predicated on the Committee being in a position to secure the necessary funding. Budgetary limitations has prevented this to date.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a further 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 18th March, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 1st November, 2005.
3. 1. Despite agreement being reached, it has not been honoured by the Committee. The claim at the LRC was for more than the four additional posts but the agreement reached already recognised the budgetary and financial circumstances of the TJLC.
2. At no stage after the LRC agreement was reached did Management indicate that there was a difficulty with the implementation of the agreement. The non-implementation of the agreement has placed additional pressures on staff and has caused the closure of some libraries for temporary periods due to staff shortages.
3. The Union is now about to commence negotiations on restructuring of the library staffing structure in accordance with the "Library Service Review" and this restricts any increase in overall staff numbers. The Union is requesting the Court to recommend that whatever structure is agreed as part of the upcoming negotiations that four new additional posts at Library Assistant Level are introduced in accordance with LRC agreement and that these posts be filled within a strict time frame as Management failed to implement the last agreement.
4. 1. The Committee recognises that it had confirmed its acceptance of the Industrial Relations Officer's settlement proposal and it has been its intention to implement this, however, the implementation of the proposal must be based on the level of available resources together with prioritisation of service delivery.
2. The Committee has opened new libraries in Templemore and Cashel which required additional staffing and resources. It has also committed additional resources to the development and introduction of new computerised systems. There are high capital costings attached to such developments.
3. The Committee accepts that it has been unable to implement the LRC agreement to date, however, it is committed to doing so once sufficient resources become available and will seek to initiate same on a phased basis at the earliest available opportunity.
The dispute concerns the non-implementation of an agreement reached between the parties under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission dated 10th September, 2002, on the filling of four posts at Library Assistant Level Grade III. Although committed to the agreement, Management stated that due to financial constraints the posts have still not been filled.
The Court notes that discussions are currently ongoing at national level in relation to the restructuring of the library service.
Having considered the submissions of both sides the Court recommends that the agreement should be implemented in full and the four new posts at Library Assistant Level Grade III should be filled. However, taking cognisance of the restructuring of the library service currently underway, the Court recommends that this Recommendation should be implemented in tandem with that restructuring process.
However, in any event, taking account of the long delays, which have elapsed since the date of the agreement, Management is required to ensure the full terms of the September 2002 agreement are fulfilled by the end of February, 2006.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th November, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.