INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
VOLUNTARY HOSPITALS & HEALTH BOARDS
(REPRESENTED BY THE HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYERS AGENCY)
- AND -
IRISH NURSES' ORGANISATION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Incremental credit.
2. There are significant numbers of nurses employed on a temporary basis in the Health Service, including approximately 1,000 in long-term temporary employment.
At present all temporary nurses employed by the Health Boards are placed on the first point of the salary scale regardless of previous experience. In order to be entitled to any incremental credit a temporary nurse is required to work an average of eight months per year.
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union that full incremental credit be given to temporary staff in respect of all service gained as a Registered Nurse whether in Ireland or abroad.
The dispute was the subject of two conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission held on the 22nd of October, 1998 and on the 2nd of November, 1998. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 29th of January, 1999.
3. 1. All service accumulated by a Registered Nurse, wherever it accrues, should be recognised when a nurse is employed on a temporary basis.
2. At present, a nurse employed on a permanent basis, with less clinical experience, can receive a higher salary than a more experienced nurse employed on a temporary basis.
3. Some temporary staff may never progress up the salary scale as they would not work the required average of eight months per year.
4. Given that there is a severe shortage of nurses, there is no incentive to attract nurses who had previously held permanent positions back into the system who now wish to take up temporary positions.
4. 1. Management has shown its willingness to replace the current 7th point on incremental progression on a phased basis over a number of years i.e., to be raised to point 8 in 1999, point 9 in 2000 etc. This was rejected by the Union.
2. To concede to the Union's claim could cost the Health Boards in excess of £1 million for which there is no funding available.
Management have conceded full incremental credit to temporary nurses on appointment to permanent positions.
The Union argued that this results in different treatment of nurses with similar service, those made permanent being credited, those temporary not receiving credit.
The Union sought recognition for all prior valid recognised nursing service for temporary nurses, as exists for permanent staff.
This claim would not effect temporary part-time staff on fixed weekly hours of work as temporary staff were clarified as those called in periodically for significant periods, for relief purposes.
Having considered all of the issues raised, and taking into account the present position and the offer made, the Court recommends as follows:
1. The ceiling of point 7 presently attainable for service by temporary staff should be extended hence in line with the Board's offer. This means that a temporary nurse, on completing the equivalent of seven years' service during 1999, would go to point 8 on the scale, and to point 9 from 2000 on completion of eight years' equivalent service, and so on up to scale maximum. Service will include all genuine nursing experience worldwide.
2. The current requirement to attain a minimum of two years' equivalent full-time service in a three year period should not be a prerequisite for eligibility to incremental credit. However, the Court accepts that some criteria are necessary, and recommends that the Board discuss with the Unions an acceptable basis for eligibility. The Court will make a recommendation in the event of failure to agree.
3. Existing temporary nurses who meet the criteria, agreed in 2 above, should be paid at the appropriate point on the scale relative to their service, up to a maximum of point 8 in 1999.
4. In line with the above, future temporary nurses should be admitted with credit for appropriate past service, up to the maximum point then available for existing temporary nurses. This would in effect allow admission in 1999 up to point 8 on the scale, depending on the amount of equivalent full-time service, increasing by one point each following year up to scale maximum.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th February, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.