INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Interpretation of an agreement.
2. The dispute refers to the interpretation of an Agreement (Clauses 2.9 and 2.10 of the PCW Agreement) in relation to staffing levels. The Union's case is that it has made numerous requests for extra staffing in two sections - Santry phase 4 and Campus Bookstacks. The Union argues that the College has made a number of unilateral decisions in relation to staffing and that this is contrary to the Agreement. The College's position is that the Union believes that there is a "cohort" i.e. a fixed number of employees below which the College cannot drop. The College maintains that this was never the case.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place. As the parties did not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 3rd of January, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 25th of May, 2006.
3. 1. Part of Clause10 of the Agreement states:"Both parties recognise the need to engage positively with ongoing changes in work practices and organisation structure".The College has made a number of unilateral decisions (details supplied to the Court) which are a contradiction of the Agreement.
2. The College has no right to reduce employee numbers without consulting with the Union as has happened since 2002.
4. 1. There is nothing in the wording of the Agreement which suggests a "cohort" or minimum staff level. Indeed, it is expressly stated that this is an historical position which is subject to change. The College has not breached the Agreement by making changes.
2. The College is committed to engaging in appropriate consultative process as matters arise.
The Court has considered the submissions made by the parties in this matter.
The Court is satisfied from a plain reading of Clauses 2.9 and 2.10 of the Agreement that the staffing numbers quoted at that time were not set in stone going forward.
The Court is also satisfied that there is also contained in Clauses 2.9 and 2.10 provisions for provision of information and discussion with a view to resolving difficulties " at the earliest practicable stage". The Court recommends that the College should abide by these provisions in regard to changes in work practices and organisational structure which require changes in staffing levels.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
12th June, 2006.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.