SECTION 20(2), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS EMPLOYERS CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Haugh
Employer Member: Mr Marie
Worker Member: Mr Shanahan
2. On the 12th September 2016, the Union and the University jointly referred the dispute to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 20(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's Recommendation.
Background to the Dispute
This dispute arises from a decision of the University’s Committee on Academic Appointments, Tenure and Promotions (UCAATP) not to recommend the Worker herein for promotion from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer grade.
In December 2013, the University agreed a comprehensive Promotions Appeals Process (“the Agreement”) with the two trade unions that represent members of its academic staff: SIPTU and IFUT. Paragraph 7 of the Agreement provides:
- “Following the outcome of an appeal under the Agreement either the candidate or University may refer a dispute concerning that outcome to the Labour Court under Section 20(2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and both parties will agree in advance to accept the recommendation of the Court.”
The hearing took place on 29 November 2016. It focused principally on the parties’ interpretation of the aforementioned Paragraph 7 and principally on the words “a dispute concerning the outcome” therein. When specifically asked about their respective understanding of what was encompassed by the word “outcome”, the representatives for each of the parties concurred that it was not confined to the decision of the Appeals Committee (referred to in paragraphs 1 to 6 of the Agreement) but includes the outcome of any review of its own original decision undertaken by UCAATP at the request of the Appeals Committee.
The Court does not itself have the expertise to evaluate the substance of an application for promotion to a senior academic position. It, therefore, recommends the appointment of Professor Joyce O’Connor whose terms of reference are to consider the reasons stated by UCAATP in its letter of 4 February 2015 for its decision not to recommend the Worker for promotion in light of the Worker’s written application seeking promotion and in light of the criteria which candidates in the relevant promotion round were required to demonstrate in order to be eligible for promotion. Professor O’Connor will furnish the Court with a report no later than 14 February 2017. The Court will then issue its recommendation pursuant to section 20(2) of the Industrial Relations Act 1969.
For the avoidance of doubt, Professor O’Connor’s reasonable fees are to be discharged in full by the University.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
December 7th 2016Deputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Clodagh O'Reilly, Court Secretary.