INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ROSCOMMON CO COUNCIL
(REPRESENTED BY LGMA)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Ms Doyle
Worker Member: Ms Tanham
1. Lack of consultation on the staffing configuration within new municipal districts.
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between the Employer and the Union in relation to the staffing configuration of the new Municipal District Structures which were brought into effect as part of The Local Government Reform Act 2014. Following a number of conciliation conferences held under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, a set of proposals were issued and recommended for acceptance by both parties. Emanating from the proposals was the introduction of the Change Management Team which was established to oversee the implementation of the new structures and to deal with any pertaining operational issues. It is the Union's claim that there has been inadequate consultation with them in relation to the implementation of the new structures. The Employer rejects the Union's claim, arguing that protracted discussions have taken place over a long period of time. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 2nd March, 2015, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 9th April, 2015.
3. 1. The Change Management Team proposal is ill-considered and will have adverse implications on staff and service delivery.
2. The Union has offered a compromise proposal to the Employer which, according to the Union has been rejected.
3. The Union is seeking the implementation of its compromise proposal.
4. 1. The Employer maintains that there is no change to staffing levels, workload or terms and conditions of employment for any staff member within the new structures.
2. The Employer has an urgent requirement to implement the new structures as soon as possible.
The Court notes that the restructuring of the Council into Municipal Districts is not in itself in dispute. Rather, the dispute relates to the manner in which that restructuring is to be managed and the perceived or anticipated effects of the change on staff associated with this claim.
Managing change can be challenging for both unions and employers and the process must be approached with due consideration for the impact that it will have on employees. There is nothing in the proposals of the Council that could result in a worsening of the terms and conditions of employment of Council staff. Yet the Union have raised serious concerns around a range of employment related issues.
In the Court’s opinion those concerns must be addressed effectively and, as far as possible, assuaged before the restructuring can be successfully introduced. At the Labour Relations Commission a proposal was formulated which was directed at achieving that objective. That proposal involved the establishment of a Change Management Team (CMT), in which representative of management and the workers concerned could address and resolve employment related issues arising from the restructuring in issue.
In the Court’s opinion the forum proposed by the LRC remains the only viable mechanism through which the Union’s concerns can be effectively addressed.
The Court recommends that the LRC proposal, as clarified, be accepted. The CMT should engage in intensive negotiation on all employment related industrial relations issues arising from the introduction of the management proposals on the new Municipal District structure. As envisaged by the LRC proposals, unresolved issues should be processed through the established dispute resolution procedures.
In that regard the Court notes that one of the concerns raised by the Union relates to possibility of the new structures resulting in the outsourcing of work currently undertaken by direct labour. There is a national agreement in place on subcontracting and outsourcing in Local authorities. The implementation of the restructuring proposals should not result in any change to that agreement or otherwise affect its application in this Local Authority.
The process of engagement through the CMT should commence as soon as practicable and should continue until the first week in June 2015, at which point the changes should be implemented.
The CMT should then undertake a full review of the effects of the new structures on staff after it has been in operation for three months. Any employment related issues identified should be the subject of negotiations between the parties, and if necessary should be processed through established procedures.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th April 2015______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Sharon Cahill, Court Secretary.