INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
MATER PRIVATE HOSPITAL
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Payment of cost of staff uniform.
2. The Union has submitted a claim for the provision of a free uniform on behalf of approximately 60 clerical/administrative staff. The Union claims that these staff be treated in the same way as all other non-medical staff employed by the hospital who are provided with free uniforms.
When the Mater Private Hospital opened in 1986, all female clerical/administrative staff were required to wear a uniform which was provided free of charged by the employer. The Union claims that its members were subsequently informed by Management of a new policy which would require staff to pay 50% of the cost of any new uniform. The requirement to wear a uniform is mandatory and compulsory.
Management claims that it is custom and practice that the cost of uniforms is borne on a 50/50 basis, with employees paying their share over a twelve/eighteen month period. It claims that in a similar type case in 1998, the Labour Court (LCR 15964 refers) recommended that the Union accept the employer's offer to meet 50% of the cost of new uniforms. The Union claims that the uniform should be provided free of charge.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 15th of April, 1999. The Industrial Relations Officer put forward proposals to try and resolve the dispute but were subsequently rejected by the Union. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 16th of August, 1999. The Court investigated the dispute on the 12th of November, 1999 ( the earliest date suitable to the parties).
3. 1. At St. Vincent's Private Hospital the cost of uniforms are met in full by the employer.
2. Male clerical and administrative staff have no such requirements placed upon them to wear a uniform.
3. There is no reason why the employer cannot meet the costs of the uniform in full in the same way as other employers do in this sector.
4. Other grades of staff employed at the hospital are required to wear a uniform, the cost of which is met in full by the hospital.
4. 1. Management cannot afford to provide uniforms on a repeat basis due to the costs involved.
2. The Mater Private Hospital is a private organisation dependent on the VHI/BUPA for funding. It does not receive any payment from the Department of Health.
3. Concession of the claim will lead to knock-on claims from other grades.
4. The claim is cost increasing and is precluded under the terms of Partnership 2000.
Having considered the submissions of both sides the Court recommends that the Company's offer to pay 60% of the cost of the uniform should be amended to;
- two thirds of the cost of the uniform should be paid by the company and one third by the employees.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
29th November, 1999.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.