INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CORK CITY COUNCIL
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Proposed changes to Technician Grade reporting relationships
2. This case concerns a dispute between IMPACT and Cork County Council in relation to the reporting relationships of Technicians employed in the Leak Detection Unit of the Water Department of the Council. Following a restructuring of the Water Department, Technicians employed in the Leak Detection Unit report directly to the Chief Water Inspector.
The Union's position is that Technicians have traditionally reported within their own grade and qualification level. It is claimed that the Technicians should maintain that reporting relationship as the grades of Chief Water Inspector and Network Supervisor are not agreed with the Union.
The Council's position is that a clear and unambiguous agreement in relation to the reporting relationships was entered into between the parties and that it should be implemented accordingly.
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 matter was referred to the Labour Court on 5th December, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 18th October, 2006, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. Technicians have always reported within their own grade. It is inappropriate that these grades should be asked to report to grades which are not agreed by the Union and may be less qualified than the Technician grade.
2. Management did not discuss the proposed changes in the reporting relationships of Technicians during the discussions in relation to the Water Inspectors. The Union has proposed an interim arrangement in an attempt to resolve the issue which was unacceptable to management.
4. 1. A proposal was put forward by management in relation to the reporting structures for Technicians and was agreed by the Trade Union.
2. It is not possible for Technicians to work in one area and expect to be able to report to a Supervisor in another area. The agreement reached between the parties in June 2003 is the approriate solution to the issues in dispute.
The Court can see no reason in principle nor in practice as to why Technicians cannot report within the structure proposed by the Council.
Moreover, following the restructuring of the Water Inspector grade the requirement for the reporting relationship at issue became a practical necessity.
Having regard to these and all other relevant considerations the Court recommends that that reporting relationship be accepted.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
2nd November 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.