Cross-stream promotion moves to arbitration

10th January 2013

The issue of cross-stream promotions in the civil service is going to arbitration after management refused to fully comply with the findings of a Commission for Public Service Appointments (CPSA) investigation into an individual complaint about an Office of Public Works (OPW) worker’s exclusion from a promotion competition.

The CPSA said qualification for promotion should be based on the skills and experience of an individual rather than their pay grade. IMPACT then lobbied strongly to have the CPSA finding implemented in full.

As a result, the civil service General Council, where management and unions discuss industrial relations issues, established a cross-stream promotions sub-group. Subsequently, civil service management tabled a proposal which, while opening up promotional opportunities to general service grades for professional and technical staff, imposed a ‘salary banding’ system. This effectively restricted the numbers of those eligible to compete by restricting promotion to similar pay grades.

Civil service unions rejected this and made a counter proposal that would see the salary banding system in place for one year only to accommodate a transition to the full CPSA finding.

IMPACT and other unions believe the permanent imposition of salary banding contradicts the finding of the CPSA. When management rejected the staff panel proposal as an “excessive administrative burden,” unions took the case to arbitration.