INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
- AND -
REPRESENTED BY P.C MOORE & CO.
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Re-Appointment as Montessori Teachers following Career Break
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between Trinity College and two employees. The employees worked in the Montessori section prior to commencing career breaks. On resumption of employment, the claimants were placed in positions that were different from the ones which they held prior to the career breaks. The claimants were previously in receipt of an allowance of 7.5% on basic pay when employed in the Montessori section but the allowance was discontinued when they were assigned to other sections within the creche.
The employee's representative is claiming that the claimants would not have applied for the career breaks had they known they would not be returning to their original posts. The subsequent re-assignment has resulted in a loss of earnings and a junior position within the creche.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the referred to the Concilation Service of the Laabour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached the matter was referred to the Labour Court on 14th 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.
3. 1. The claimants have suffered a loss of earnings and a demotion in their workplace. Had they known that they would not be re-assigned to their original positions, they would not have applied for the career breaks.
2. The claim to be re-instated to their original positions and terms and conditions of employment is fair and reasonable in the circumstances.
4. 1. Prior to commencing the career breaks, there was no guarantee that the claimants would be returned to their original positions. They were informed that they would be assigned to "fillable vacancies"on their return.
2. An internal investigation had been carried out and concluded that no breach of procedures had occurred in relation to the re-assignment. The claimants were placed in positions commensurate with their qualifications and experience.
3. The allowance that was previously paid while working in the Montessori area was no longer applicable as it did not apply to other areas in the facility.
It appears to the Court that on taking the career break the Claimants could have legitimately expected to return to a post at the same level of pay as that which they were vacating. Had the College intended otherwise this should have been explained to the Claimants in unequivocal terms. Consequently, and having regard to all the circumstances of the case the Court accepts that the Claimants were treated unfairly.
The Court notes that the positions in the Montessori Section have now been filled on a permanent basis and the Court cannot interfere with the employment of those currently occupying those positions. However, the Court is of the view that the requirements of fairness dictats that the claimants should continue to be paid the allowance which they previously held.
Accordingly the Court recommends that each of the claimants be paid this allowance from the date of their return to duty and should continue to receive it on a red-circled basis. The Court further recommends that the claimants be assigned, on a seniority basis, to any future vacancies which may arise in the Montessori Section.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th January 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.