INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ST ANGELA'S COLLEGE
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Grading of Examinations Officer, Catering Manager, Home Economics Assistant and Library Assistant
2. The College provides a range of academic programmes in Education, Food, Textiles, Economics, Fashion, Design and Social Studies. It is a College of the National University of Ireland, Galway and both Union and Management agree that there exists inequities regarding staff grading and pay levels. Management invited a firm of Consultants to examine the structures and grading of staff at the centre of this dispute and when their report was published there was an expectation amongst the staff that the recommendations suggested would be complied with. When this did not happen the Union brought their grievance to the attention of Management.
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 4th June, 2008 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990.
A Labour Court hearing took place on the 22nd July, 2008 at Sligo Courthouse.
3. 1. The duties being carried out by the holders of the grades at the centre of this dispute are more onerous and carry a higher level of responsibility than the outside grades to which they are linked for pay scale purposes.
2. The discussion about regularising the staffing grades within the College has been on-going for a number of years but the lack of progress has resulted in little or no improvement in the position of the Union members.
4. 1. Management are aware of the staffing inequities and are actively liaising with the Department of Education and Science in order to make progress in allowing the necessary upgrade for these posts.
2. The Department of Finance were contacted and an application made for the necessary extra funding in order to re-grade these posts, but to date there has been no success in gaining approval and no progress made.
The Court notes that the College commissioned a firm of management consultants to undertake a study of its structures and that this study, amongst other things, looked at and reported on the grading of those associated with the present claim.
This study found that the current grading of the Claimants was inappropriate having regard to the functions which they perform. The consultants recommended that they be upgraded. The Union’s claim is, in effect, for the implementation of those recommendations.
In commissioning the report the College acknowledged the existence of the problem in its staffing structures. They also created a legitimate expectation amongst the staff that the recommendations of the consultants would be implemented so as to address the structural problems which were found to exist. In the Court’s view the staff are now legitimately aggrieved at the failure to implement the findings of this study. Moreover, in the course of the hearing the College confirmed to the Court that it accepted the recommendation of the consultants and wished to implement them. In these circumstances there is no real dispute between the parties on this point
However, the Court noted the position taken by the Department of Education and Science in this matter, which is in line with its normal policy in relation to payroll increases and the application of notional pay agreements. Nevertheless, in the circumstances of this case, the Court recommends that the employer and the Union should jointly approach the Department with a view to establishing a basis upon which they might advance the resolution of this dispute.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31st July, 2008______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to John Foley, Court Secretary.