INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Decentralisation: FÁS Contracts of Employment.
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between FÁS and SIPTU in relation to contracts of employment which the Union contends include a clause for compulsory Decentralisation to Birr, Co. Offaly in 2009. The Union's position is that the Contract of Employment for those people who accept promotion to Head Office contains a clause that compels each worker to decentralise.
The FÁS Management position is that they are following Government policy on the Decentralisation and that the Decentralisation only applies to new staff recruited into Head Office or accepting promotion to Head Office in the knowledge that the post may be relocated.
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 25th October, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 10th January, 2006, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Government policy on Decentralisation is that it is a voluntary process. FÁS is compelling people to decentralise. The current policy of FÁS is that employees accepting promotion in Head Office or being newly recruited into Head Office must, as part of their contract, accept the relocation to Birr, Co. Offaly. This process is not compliant with the voluntary nature of the Decentralisation plan.
2. Because of the current position of compulsory Dentralisation following promotion, many employees have not applied for promotions. This has had an adverse effect on their careers with FÁS.
3. FÁS is in breach of the Industrial Relations Procedures Agreement by not complying with the terms of the Consultation Procedure.
4. 1. The requirement to Decentralise applies only to employees accepting promotions to Head Office or staff newly recruited into Head Office and in the knowledge that the post may be relocated.
2. All contracts of employment contain a clause whereby relocation may be necessary in line with the operating needs of FÁS.
3. FÁS are applying the Government Policy with regard to the Decentralisation of Head Office. Concession of the Union's claim would have serious implications for both FÁS and the Government Decentralisation Plan.
The Court has considered the written and oral submissions of the parties. The Court has also noted the terms of the Company/ Union Industrial Relations Procedures Agreement and is of the opinion that FÁS is in breach of the Consultation Procedure provided for in that Agreement. Noting also the Government Policy of Voluntary Decentralisation, the Court recommends that the matter be referred back for further discussions to the appropriate central body, at which level the issues should be teased out with a view to arriving at agreed long-term solutions, in consultation with all of the parties involved.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd February, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.