INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LIMERICK COUNTY COUNCIL
(REPRESENTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES BOARD)
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Short-Listing process prior to interviews.
2. The dispute involves a claim by the Union to have consultation with management in Limerick County Council on any short-listing processes undertaken in promotional competitions for the grades that they represent. A number of Clerical Officers within Limerick County Council applied for Staff Officer position when advertised publicly in May 2005. In June, 2005 they received a letter from Human Resources stating that they were not short listed for interview based on the information supplied on the application form. The Union is seekingcompensation for those staff employed by Limerick County Council who were not short listed for the competition, or the confinement of the next Grades 4 – 7 competitions to Limerick County Council staff.
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 7th February, 2006 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 20th June, 2006.
3.1 The Union contends that the Council should have consulted with them in relation to the short listing process in advance of any short listing taking place in accordance with Section 21.12 of Sustaining Progress.
2. The reason for a short listing process is to ensure that the most suitable candidates for the job are interviewed, the sole criteria used by the Council to establish the most suitable candidate was based solely on their existing 'grade',without any reference to any other criteria.
3. Good practice in any short listing process would ensure that candidates were assessed on a number of criteria relevant to the post to be filled. The Union contends that the Council did not conform to good practice by short listing on the sole criteria of 'Grade'.
4. The consequence of the approach taken by the Council has meant that suitable qualified candidates within Limerick City Council at Grade 3 (Staff Officer Competition) and Grade 4 level (Senior Staff Officer Competition) were denied an opportunity to compete for promotion regardless of their experience and qualifications.
4.1 The Council had made it clear within the details of the position that shortlisting might apply and that candidates were aware of this prior to submitting applications.
2. All employers utilise shortlisting as part of its recruitment process when appropriate. The Public Appointments Services applied short listing to all its competitions; other local authorities operate similar systems. The Union itself applied such a process to their own competitions.
3. To allow the Union influence the selection process on behalf of its members in the County Council would open the Council to allegations of unfair influence being made against it by non union members or indeed employees of other local authorities or health boards.
4. The decision to shortlist will always be predicated by the number of applications received. It is not the case that short listing will always be applied, but rather where it is appropriate based on the number and quality of applications.
5. The Council is satisfied that the procedure and criteria applied to the short listing was both fair and transparent.
The case before the Court concerns the Union’s concern regarding the short list methodology used by the Council in its competition held in May 2005 for Staff Officer positions. The Union sought compensation for those staff employed by Limerick County Council who were not short listed for the competition, or the confinement of the next Grades 4 – 7 competitions to Limerick County Council staff.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court does not find in favour of the Union’s claim for compensation or the confined competitions. However, the Court accepts that as a matter of courtesy, the County Council should have informed the Union of the criteria it intended to use for the short-listing exercise.
Therefore, the Court recommends that the County Council should inform the Union of the criteria being used for short-listing candidates for future competition at these grades.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd July, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.