INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal of the Recommendation of a Rights Commissioner r-041161-ir-06/POB.
2. This case concerns the 2003 and 2004 promotions process in University College Cork and whether the procedure followed was a fair and proper assessment of the Claimant's application for promotion and whether the "rerun" of the promotions process was conducted fairly.
The issue involves a claim by a Worker. The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and Recommendation. On the 8th May, 2008, the Rights Commissioner issued his recommendation as follows:
"I believe the Respondent should evaluate all the issues raised by the Claimant and Mr M's (full name given in Rights Commissioner's Recommendation) report and ensure it has done all it can to improve and make the governing principles more easily understood, where possible."
On the 17th June, 2008 the Worker appealed the Rights Commissioners Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 3rd December, 2008.
3. 1. The governing body of UCC demonstrated bias and discrimination against the Claimant, the injustice was compounded when he was not short listed for the position by the Appeals Board which resulted in discrimination against the Claimant.
2. The Claimant is seeking the Court to reverse the outcome of the 2003/2004 promotions process, the Rights Commissioners Decision and have his application reconsidered.
4. 1. The University has an internal Grievance Procedure agreed with all of the recognised Unions including the Irish Federation of University Teachers, the Claimant choose not to use this procedure.
2. A full and diligent investigation into all appeals was carried out by the Academic Appeals Board including the Claimant's case, the University has implemented in full the decisions of the Appeals Board.
This is an appeal by the Claimant against the Recommendation of a Rights Commissioner in a dispute between the parties arising from outcome of the Claimant’s application for promotion to Senior Lecturer under the University’s Academic Promotions Scheme. The event giving rise to the dispute occurred in 2003.
Under an agreement between the University and the Trade Union representing academic staff an appeal lies from decisions of Lecturers Promotions and Establishment Board to an Academic Appeals Board. There is no provision in the appeals scheme for a further appeal to either a Rights Commissioner or this Court.
It is perfectly plain from the submissions furnished to the Court that the Claimant is deeply aggrieved at the outcome of the promotions round to which this dispute relates. He believes that the process was unfair and unjust and that the manner in which his case was considered by the Appeals Board similarly flawed. He is now asking the Court to appoint an academic of international standing and reputation to review the decision of the University on his application for promotion.
The Court accepts that the Claimant strongly believes that he was unfairly treated by the Lecturers Promotions and Establishment Board and the Academic Appeals Board. The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner, and on appeal to this Court, as a trade dispute. In the investigation of a trade dispute the Court may make a recommendation setting forth its opinion on the merits of the dispute and the terms on which it should be settled. (see S.68 of the Industrial Relations Act 1946, as amended). In fulfilling that role the Court is always guided by its understanding of the requirements of good industrial relations practice.
In the present case what the Court must consider is whether the appeals mechanism currently in place should be regarded as the appropriate and only forum for dealing with disputes concerning promotions or whether the Court should be regarded as providing either an alternative or additional avenue of appeal.
This question was considered by the Court in a previous investigation involving UCC. In Appeals Decision AD0844 the Court took the view the intention of the parties to the agreement establishing the Appeals Board was that its decision would be final and binding on all parties. There is nothing in the facts of this case which would cause the Court to adopt a different view.
It is noted that the Claimant has raised issues in relation to the procedures adopted by the Appeals Board in its consideration of his case. This Board, like the Court itself, is entitled to determine its own procedures and it is not for this Court to comment in any way on those procedures. Suffice it to say that the Appeals Board constitutes an agreed internal third party procedure for resolving disputes of the type now before the Court. The requirements of good industrial relations dictates that parties should accept the outcome of agreed third party procedures.
For these reasons the Court recommends that both parties accept the decision of the Appeals Board in this case.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
19th December, 2008______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to John Foley, Court Secretary.