INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
NATIONAL STANDARDS AUTHORITY OF IRELAND
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Work practices.
2. The Employer is a statutory body with legislative and prosecution responsibilities with regards to weights and measures. The issue in dispute relates to the appointment of twelve Technical Assistants to provide manual assistance to twelve Inspectors in the performance of their duties.
There are currently three Technical Assistants and twelve Inspectors and both sides agree that additional Technical Assistants are required. The Employer wishes to outsource this work. The Union agreed without prejudice to accept outsourcing if the Employer agreed to upgrade the existing three Technical Assistants to Inspector grade, but this was not acceptable to the Employer.
This 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 20th December 2007 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 5th March 2008, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. Whatever health and safety issues there may be have arisen from the Employer's refusal to employ enough staff to carry out the work.
2. In the interest of settling this dispute the Union offered without prejudice to accept the outsourcing of this work if the three Technical Assistants were upgraded to Inspector grade. The Employer refused this offer.
4. 1. This dispute is primarily a health and safety issue, and the Employer will not compromise on the health and safety of Staff.
2.This dispute means that the Employer is not meeting its statutory obligations. Consumer confidence is being effected.
3.The Employer already has a well-established career development system in place for staff wanting to progress.
The Court noted that the Union has agreed in principle to the proposal to outsource the work currently undertaken by Manual Assistants. However, in return for cooperation with this initiative the Union is seeking concessions in relation to the upgrading of three of its members.
In the circumstances of this case the Court is satisfied that the position adopted by the Union is not unreasonable. Accordingly, the Court recommends that the Employer should seek to have facilities put in place whereby the three members of the Union concerned would obtain the necessary up-skilling in order to progress to the basic Legal Metrology Grade.
This recommendation is made in the particular circumstances of this case and is not intended to have any precedent value and should not be quoted or relied upon in any other case.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th March, 2008.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jonathan McCabe, Court Secretary.