INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH NURSES' ORGANISATION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Parity of pay and other conditions with North Western Health Board (NWHB).
2. Nazareth House, Sligo, is a 148-bedded home for the elderly operated by a Religious Order. There are 29 nurses employed, some working full-time and others part-time. It receives some of its income from patients but the major part of funding comes from the North Western Health Board. The Union has been seeking the introduction of Public Service rates of pay and conditions of employment for the nursing staff at Nazareth House since 1993. In 1994, an agreement on pay was reached at negotiations held under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission but the Union reserved the right to raise its claim for parity with the Public Sector at a future date. In January, 1998, the Union re-introduced its claim for full parity with Public Sector rates of pay and conditions of employment for the nurses concerned. The claim is summarised as follows:
The introduction of the standard 13 point incremental scale starting at £15,300 rising to £22,339 effective from July, 1999. Full parity with regard to pay with effect from January, 1998, thus ensuring that in future nurses in Nazareth House, who must have the same qualifications and experience as their Public Service colleagues, enjoy similar levels of income.
Premium Pay Rates:
The following are premium pay arrangements which are not applied in Nazareth House:
Public Service rates 01/01/99 - £8.22
Public Service Rate Time (at hourly rate x 2)
Sunday/Public Holiday Night:
Public Service Rate Time + Time + ¼
Public Service rate - Time + ¼
All of the above Public Service rates are standard and are outlined in various departmental circulars.
Special allowance for long stay units in County Homes
Public Service Rate + £333 per annum.
24 working days annual leave instead of the current leave under the Working Time Agreement.
Sick Pay Arrangements
The introduction of the standard sick pay scheme for nurses in the Public Service which allows:
365 days paid sick leave in a rolling 4 year period. There is currently no sick leave scheme in place.
Annual Leave Premiums
The introduction of annual leave premium payments."
Management rejected the claim. on the grounds of insufficient funding from the NWHB. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference was held on the 17th of February, 1998. No agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 7th of July, 1999. A Court hearing was held in Sligo, on the 29th of September, 1999.
1. The question of the application of Public Service rates of pay and conditions of employment to nursing staff in private facilities has been considered by the Labour Court on a number of occasions. At all times the Court has recommended that proper rates of salary and allowances be introduced.
2. Nazareth House requires registered nursing personnel to provide its standard of patient care. As a consequence of this they must be prepared to pay proper rates of pay.
3. The Management of Nazareth House also agree with the Union on this matter and are conscious that from January, 1999, temporary nurses in public hospitals are getting paid on the 8th increment, if they have eight years nursing experience, at a basic rate of £20,342. Whilst a nurse in Nazareth House with similar experience is paid £5,867.46 less per annum or £2.88 less per hour.
4. The Management of Nazareth House cannot ignore the potential market force which will be detrimental to the nursing home, in the medium to long term, due to the shortage of nursing manpower.
Nazareth House in Mallow, Co. Cork, confirmed that the Public Service salary and allowances are applied to nurses employed in Nazareth House, Mallow.
This claim has been lodged since January, 1998, and therefore, the Union is seeking its application from January, 1998, as the delay in processing this claim is not the fault of the Union.
1. Management at Nazareth House wish to pursue an ethical policy of remuneration with regard to their employees, and has made significant progress in addressing the relatively low rate of pay at the facility. The provisions of Partnership 2000 have been applied to all staff at the home.
2. Management at Nazareth House are prepared to apply the North Western Health Board (NWHB) rates to nurses if the necessary funding from the NWHB is put in place to finance this sizable increase in expenditure. Toward that end, Management at Nazareth House in Sligo have held a series of meetings with representatives of the NWHB in an effort to secure additional funding to the value of £210 per Health Board bed per week subject to cost of living increases. If this level of funding is applied at Nazareth House, Health Board rates for nurses would be granted.
A series of meetings was convened with representatives of the Health Board in an effort to highlight the difficult financial situation at Nazareth House. NWHB representatives undertook to investigate the possibility of additional finances for the Home.
3. As Management understand it, NWHB is constrained by the subvention figures set out in the 1993 Statutory Instrument. However, while the NWHB are sympathetic to the plight at Nazareth House, no additional support can be given until the new financial year which commences in the year 2000.
An examination of the Statement of Income and Expenditure for Nazareth House for the year ended 31st of March, 1999, highlights the difficult financial circumstances of the House. The Financial Report for Nazareth House for year ending 31st of March, 1999, is supplied to the Court. The figures indicate the loss of £106,000 for the period in comparison with a profit of £45,000 for the same period last year.
4. If the Health Board rates were applied to the nurses, this would mean that the current hourly rate of £7.11 would rise to £10.81, a rise of £3.70 per hour. Over a full year, this would mean an increased cost for nurses alone in the order of £200,000. Clearly, given the current finances at Nazareth House, this is an increase which cannot be contemplated at this stage. Management is prepared to review the rates for nurses in January, 2000, when Health Board funding has been agreed. Increases in the nurses' basic rate can only be applied in the light of the funding available. At this point, Management can only undertake to apply a pro rata increase to the nurses' basic rate in line with the additional funding secured from the North Western Health Board.
5. It is important to note the ironic situation which Management at Nazareth House finds itself in. On one hand, the Irish Nurses' Organisation (INO) are claiming parity with the rates that obtain in the NWHB hospitals, on the other hand, the NWHB, who provide the primary funding to Nazareth House have not increased the subvention rates since 1993.
The INO, in their submission have drawn attention to the funding arrangements at Nazareth House in Mallow, Co. Cork. Management understands that following a decision by the Order to cease their involvement in that establishment, the Southern Health Board offered to subvent them up to full Health Board rates. This is part of an exit mechanism whereby over a five year period, the Sisters at Nazareth House, Mallow, will hand over the operation to the local Health Board. If funding of £210 per Health Board bed is secured from the NWHB, the full public sector rates will be applied to nurses. Nurses' rates will be increased pro rata dependent on the level of additional funding supplied by the Health Board in the next financial year.
The Court acknowledges that the claim for parity of pay and conditions with Public Sector nurses is well founded. The Court also acknowledges that the current financial circumstances of the Institution precludes it from conceding the claim at this time.
The Court recommends that the parties agree in principle that the rates of pay and other conditions of those associated with this claim be brought into line with the Public Service. An agreed time scale for full implementation of parity should be determined which would not exceed six months from the date of this Recommendation.
In the interim, both parties should make representations to the appropriate authorities to obtain the necessary funding to allow the Recommendation to be implemented.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
12th October, 1999.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.