INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ANTHONY RYAN'S GALWAY
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Foley
Employer Member: Ms Cryan
Worker Member: Ms Tanham
1. Staff Development Programme.
2. The case before the Court concerns a dispute between the Employer and the Union on behalf of its members in relation to the Employer's proposed implementation of a staff development programme. It is the Employer's contention that it has a business requirement to introduce a staff development programme in an effort to alleviate the negative effects of increased competition stemming from online and physical outlets, in addition to decreasing sales and margin pressures. The Union rejects the Employer's position arguing that there is very little transparency surrounding the potential benefits of the implementation of the development programme.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 10th July, 2015, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 23rd February, 2015.
3. 1. The Union contends that the Employer has not clearly presented a business case to justify the introduction of the Staff Development Programme in terms of how it will improve sales performance levels. Rather, employees view the Programme as a method of targeting underperformance issues.
2. The proposed introduction of the Programme has caused concern amongst employees, the majority of whom have remained with the Company throughout its most difficult trading periods in the past.
4. 1. The Employer maintains that it has a business requirement to introduce a best practice human resources management tool and therefore proposed the implementation of a Staff Development Programme.
2. The Employer asserts that performance appraisal and staff development programmes are a common norm across the retail sector.
3. The Employer has proposed to fully review the Programme after a period of 13 months following its implementation.
The Court has carefully considered the written and oral submissions of the parties.
The Court is conscious that the parties have engaged extensively to address proposals to introduce a Staff Appraisal/Staff Development Programme. The Employer has emphasised to the Court that the programme has its emphasis on development of staff and not on sanction.
On that basis the Court Recommends as follows:
•A programme of training of staff and appraisers should be put in place prior to the introduction of the Staff Appraisal/ Staff Development Programme. That training should be focussed on developing understanding among appraisers and appraisees of all aspects of the Programme.
•The criteria currently proposed to be utilised for appraisal purposes should be reviewed in order to simplify the framework of the scheme. Appraisal criteria should be confined to a small number of specific, achievable and measurable criteria. A description of an appraisal criterion should incorporate a statement of what good performance looks like in the context of this employment.
•The programme should formalise mechanisms for the appraisee’s input to the appraisal meeting, i.e. a specific element of the Appraisal meeting should be associated with appraisee’s feedback / input and recorded on the Appraisal Form.
•The Programme should be introduced in a small number of Departments on a trial basis. At the conclusion of that process, and as proposed by the Workplace Relations Commission, the Commission should be requested to facilitate a review of the parties’ experience of the Programme with a view to implementing the Programme across the company following resolution of any issues identified.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th March 2016______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Sharon Cahill, Court Secretary.