Sanitary Caretaker v A Public Body. ADJ 34493. Workplace Relations Commission

CourtWorkplace Relations Commission
Docket NumberADJ 34493
Date05 December 2022
Procedure:

In accordance with Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act 1969 (as amended) following the referral of the disputes to me by the Director General, I inquired into the disputes and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any information relevant to the disputes.

Background:

On August 10, 2021, the Union on behalf of the Worker, who worked as Water Caretaker lodged two claims with the WRC

1 Not paid the appropriate and commensurate rate of pay. Seeking Retrospection.

2 Regularising of Acting Up

The Employer is a Public Body and has rejected both claims.

Both Parties were represented and both parties submitted written outline submissions of their respective positions.

Summary of Workers Case:

The worker is a long-time employee with the Water services. In April 2011, he transferred in as a Temporary Wastewater Inspector. The Complainant is seeking career progression through the appointment to a technician position as allowances paid to that grade were not paid to him when he did locum.

CA-00045613-001 and CA-00045613-002 (claims worded the same)

In December 2013, he became permanent as Sanitary Caretaker 5 with an extra duty responsibility to cover the Wastewater Inspector in the same zone.

The Worker never received the same 5 allowances as the other Wastewater Inspector.

The Worker’s role has changed since 2013 and he now carries a range of extra duties, which are not reflected in his pay.

Surveys, Leak detecting, Validation, Monthly reports

These roles are carried out by a different grouping within the employer’s area of responsibility.

The Worker is seeking a recommendation that gives effect to “monetary appropriate to the positions that he is undertaking …………. within the water services “

The Union catalogued a record of courses taken and led out by the Worker in the case. They contended that the Worker had contributed “over and above to the service” and should be paid properly.

A weekend stipend of €79 is disputed in the context of weekend cover.

The Worker spoke freely about his dissatisfaction at his perceived inequitable treatment and submitted his need for resolution.

Summary of Employer’s Case:

The Employer representative confirmed that the Worker commenced work as a permanent general operative in September 2008.

CA-00045613-001 and CA-00045613-002 (claims worded the same)

The Employer has rejected the claims advanced. It was the Employer case that the Worker has been paid correctly. The grade of Wastewater Inspector is a national grade and pay is determined by a Government Dept.

The Worker was successful at internal competition for the temporary role of Wastewater Inspector in 2011 and was appointed on May 3, 2011.This position was regularised later than year and the worker was appointed on a permanent basis to the role.

The Employer representative set out the distinction between the roles of the three Wastewater Inspectors based at Zone 1

1 Two posts have an unplanned /emergency function

2 The workers position has a more elective function regarding leak detection

The Worker is in receipt of a Union agreed “cover allowance “of €30 per day in respect of locum cover for other staff. He also receives overtime. These payments were catalogued in the Employers submission.

The Employer submitted that during recent engagement with the Union and the Worker, he had sought a regrading from his outdoor grade to the Officer grade of Technician.

The Technician grade requires specific qualifications and the worker had not applied for a live vacancy in the grade. There was no opportunity for a lateral transfer into the role of Technician.

The Employer argued that the effect of a concession of the claim for regrading of the post would be far reaching and would have wider implications across the wider public body, if not nationally. The claim was cost increasing in light of the pay distinction of both grades.

The Employer contended that the Worker worked to role and the description of his range of duties did not veer outside his pay grading.

The Employer could not identify any basis on which the claim could be realised. There was no provision for job evaluation available.

The Employer concluded that the worker was paid an appropriate grading on which a daily rate was superimposed for locum duties, with supplementary pay for overtime worked

The worker was not owed any monies and there was no opportunity for an automatic upgrade.

Conclusions:

In conducting my investigation, I have considered all relevant oral and written submissions presented to me by the parties.

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