Labour Court Database
File Number: CD88245
Case Number: LCR11820
Section / Act: S67
Parties: EASTERN HEALTH BOARD - and - IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Dispute concerning the abolition of a post of Head Attendant.
6. Having considered the submissions made by the parties, the
Court is of the view that while there has been a reduction in the
volume of work attaching to the Head Attendant post, the extent of
the reduction does not warrant the abolition of the post.
The Court recommends therefore that the post should be retained on
the basis that the parties agree the assignment of additional
duties to the post through a re-allocation of the various
arrangements and duties at present being carried out within the
existing staff structure.
Division: Mr Fitzgerald Mr Shiel Mr Devine
Text of Document__________________________________________________________________
CD88245 RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR11820
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1976
PARTIES: EASTERN HEALTH BOARD
IRISH TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
1. Dispute concerning the abolition of a post of Head Attendant.
2. The dispute concerns a proposal by the Eastern Health Board to
abolish the post of Head Attendant in the female wing of the
Central Mental Hospital. In 1980, when the post had become vacant
the Board tried to abolish it but following a dispute filled it in
a temporary capacity until it became vacant again on 24th April,
1987. The vacancy was then filled once more in a temporary
capacity by the most senior female charge attendant. In November,
1987 the Board advised the Union of its intention to abolish the
post with effect from 1st January, 1988. The Union objected to
the abolition which was deferred to facilitate the referral of the
dispute to the Labour Court.
3. On 21st December, 1987 the matter was referred to the
conciliation service of the Labour Court. A conciliation
conference was held on 3rd March, 1988 (earliest date suitable to
the parties) but no agreement was reached. On 29th March, 1988
the case was referred to the Court for investigation and
recommendation. A Labour Court hearing was held on 11th April,
4. 1. During discussions with management it became obvious that
there was a difference of opinion between the officials of
the Board and the medical staff of the hospital on the
proposal. At a meeting on the 14th December, 1987, the
chief nursing officer stated that if the post was
abolished it would cause difficulties for the medical
staff. He also stated that the worker in the position had
a "meaningful role to play" in the hospital.
2. Although a problem of this nature is not specifically
mentioned in the National Plan for Recovery, the Board's
proposal is contrary to the spirit of the Agreement.
3. During 1987 the workers have made a significant
contribution to cost savings brought about by the loss of
4. 4. The workers rejected the reasons put forward by the Board
for the abolition of this post.
5. 1. There is no longer a need for a head female attendant
because since the introduction of the chief nursing
officer and 2 assistant chief nursing officer posts the
main duties attaching to the head attendants became the
responsibility of these grades. The number of female
patients has also significantly decreased since the
original staffing structure was introduced.
2. The Board is satisfied that there is no longer a need for
a head female attendant. There is no justification for
retaining a redundant position at premium pay rates when
the worker concerned would be far better employed
attending directly to patients of the Hospital. The Board
alone has the prerogative to establish staffing levels.
The Labour Court has supported this position in the case
of Marley Flooring & Plumbing Ltd. V. I.T. & G.W.U.
3. Abolition of the head female attendant post will not mean
disemployment of staff because the post is presently
filled by a charge attendant on an acting basis. The
Board has given a commitment to the Union that no
temporary attendant will be disemployed as a result of the
acting female head attendant reverting to her substantive
4. The Board accepts that the attendants career aspirations
will be affected by the abolition of this post. However,
preservation of promotional opportunities to staff is no
justification for retaining a redundant position. It
should be noted that any future competition to fill the
other head attendant post is open to male and female
5. The Board adopted a survival plan to keep within its
allocation for 1988. It is vital that the Board deploy
its staff as efficiently as possible. The head female
attendant post was identified as superfluous as far back