INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1); INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT; 1990
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND CHILDREN
HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYERS AGENCY
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
(REPRESENTED BY THE HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYERS' AGENCY AND THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH NURSES' ORGANISATION
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
PSYCHIATRIC NURSES' ASSOCIATION
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
1. Rehearing arising from LCR16261. The Court investigated the above dispute on the 25th of October, 1999.
2. The Government and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions agreed a process to resolve the nurses’ dispute under the Independent Chairmanship of Mr. Kevin Duffy, Deputy Chairman of the Labour Court.
It was agreed that the following format would be used in addressing issues:-
1. Talks on issues arising from the Commission on Nursing which are not related to pay rates.
2. Reference to the Labour Court of appropriate issues.
3. Issues which could be dealt with in a post Partnership 2000 setting.
The Nursing Alliance indicated the specific issues requiring to be addressed and they were as follows:-
1. Anomalies in allowances.
3. Reporting relationships of Director of Nursing.
4. Issues related to CPN and DNO.
5. Staff Nurse scale including recognition for long service.
6. Pay of promotional grades.
7. Number of students and pay on qualification.
8. Number of new line manager posts.
9. Nurse teachers.
10. Training budget.
Following four days and nights of intensive discussions a number of issues were agreed between the parties and the balance of issues on which there was no agreement or only partial agreement, were referred to the Court.
Before reference to the Labour Court a number of the issues above were agreed between the parties. These included:
• No. 3. Reporting relationships of Director of Nursing,
• No. 7. Number of students and pay on qualification and
• No. 10. Training budget arrangements.
While there had been progress on a number of other issues, particularly items 5 and 8, full agreement was not reached and the differences between the parties were referred to the Court for recommendation.
In examining the issues before it, the Court acknowledges that a number of these arise as a consequence of the introduction of the Commission on Nursing Report and others arise as a result of anomalies arising following the implementation of the previous Labour Court Recommendations.
1.Anomalies in allowances
A. Qualification Allowance for Public Health Nurse Grade
The Court recognises the Management view that, in general, such allowances should not be paid in respect of holding a qualification which is a pre-requisite to securing an appointment.
It notes, however, that the post registration qualification in Midwifery attracts a qualification allowance in certain circumstances and on this basis recommends that it should be paid to Public Health Nurse and Senior Public Health Nurse Grades and confined strictly to those grades.
B. Clinical Nurse Managers 3
In order to compensate for an apparent anomaly, the Court recommends that the pay scale of this post be increased to £29,600 at the top of the scale.
C. Qualifying Courses
The matter of courses qualifying for extra allowances has been agreed between the parties as Category 2 or equivalent courses as defined by An Bord Altranais.
D. Unsocial Hours Premium
At the original hearing the Unions based their claim for time and 1/6th between 6.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m. on the basis that similar arrangements applied in the prison service, and the fact that the nurses worked a 39-hour week. At the time the arrangement did not apply elsewhere in the public service and for that reason the Court did not consider that a significantly wide base of comparison existed to justify recommending the claim. Since the hearing, time and 1/6th has been offered to another significant group within the public service as part of a restructuring agreement. This, in the Court's view, constitutes a substantial change in the circumstances which existed at the original hearing and broadens significantly the base of the claim on behalf of the nurses. In these circumstances the Court considers that, as part of the overall package, the claim should be conceded with effect from one month after the date of acceptance of this Court recommendation. The time and 1/6th between 6.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m. payment to applyonlywhere there is an 8-hour shift or more worked by an individual.
E. Long Stay Unit Allowance - General Nursing
The Court clarifies that the reference in Labour Court Recommendation LCR16083 to the restriction of the increased allowance (to those already in the receipt of the previous £328 allowance) was not intended to preclude from eligibility others who had been arguing a case that they should have had the allowance. The Court has suggested to the parties that this is an industrial relations matter that should be taken up on an individual basis and processed through the procedures.
F. Allowance - Psychiatry
Against the background of a claim in relation to the application of a location allowance in respect of long-stay units in psychiatric and mental handicap services, the Court notes that the following agreement has been reached between the sides:
Nurses working in units for Severe and Profoundly Handicapped in Mental Handicap Services and Acute Admission and Secure Units in Psychiatric Services will be eligible for payment of the location allowance while working in such areas.
The Court notes that this arrangement follows re-affirmation by both sides that location based allowances are not payable in respect of grades above CNM 2 levels and would not be cited in support of further claims.
The Court does not recommend any change to the increased holiday arrangements already recommended in previous Labour Court Recommendations.
3.Reporting Relationships of Director of Nursing
The parties have agreed a wording that is acceptable to both sides on this issue. (Appendix 1).
4.Community Psychiatric and Deputy Nursing Officer
The Court does not recommend any change pending the advance of these nurses to Community Mental Health Nurse grade. The employers have committed to the Court that they will assist all those seeking to make this move.
The Court does not recommend any change regarding this post.
5.Staff Nurse Scales including recognition for Long Service
Following discussions between the parties prior to coming to the Court it was agreed that a new post of Senior Staff Nurse would be set up to fulfil an identified need in the system. A job specification, training programme and eligibility criteria were agreed for this post. (Appendix 2).
The Management was prepared to offer 2,000 Senior Staff Nurse posts, with a rate of 4% above the Staff Nurse rate. The Union sought 3,000 posts at a rate of £1,500 above the Staff Nurse rate.
The Court, having considered the submissions made by both parties, recommends that the proposed number of posts of Senior Staff Nurse be increased from 2,000 to 2,500. The Senior Staff Nurse to be paid at a rate of 5% above the Staff Nurse rate.
The Court further recommends that there be an interim review to monitor the operation and effectiveness of the new Senior Staff Nurse position in October, 2000, and a more comprehensive review in October, 2001, at the review stage of the Commission on Nursing Report.
6.Pay of Promotional Grade
On this issue the specially appointed Chairman to the talks has recommended that any discussions in relation to this area should be dealt with in a post Partnership 2000 setting. Consideration at that stage might include performance-related pay proposals.
In return for this it was agreed that those in Management posts would receive a £1,000 lump sum.
7.Number of students and pay on qualification
A number of issues have been clarified and agreed between the parties under this heading.
8.Number of new line manager posts
As a result of the implementation of the relevant section of the Commission on Nursing Report a number of new line manager posts have been created. Prior to coming into the Court the Management side had offered 600 CNM 1 posts. The Union side considered this to be inadequate and sought a figure of 2,000 CNM 1 posts. The PNA also raised a claim for 200 CNM 1 posts.
Having considered the arguments made by both sides the Court recommends that the number of CNM 1 posts should be 1,100, the allocation of these posts to be agreed between the parties. The agreed criteria for filling these posts is attached. (Appendix 3).
In addition to the posts above, Management have proposed 750 Clinical Nurse Specialist posts while Alliance were arguing for significantly more. Following consideration of the submissions made the Court recommends the figure of 1,250 Clinical Nurse Specialist posts.
The proposed integration of pre-registration nursing education into the third level sector has raised many questions for this group. In LCR16261 the Court stated that pay and conditions for nurse teachers should be finalised by September, 2000 when the Nursing Education Forum report will be available. The Court recommended that in the meantime, this group should be paid 4% from the 1st of July, 1999, on account, to be subsumed into any pay increases negotiated after the Forum report, clarifying their new roles, is available. The Court further recommended that the option of a voluntary early retirement package should be provided in order to supplement the options proposed by the Commission on Nursing.
In the light of further submissions received from the Nursing Alliance, the Court now recommends that, instead of receiving an interim payment of 4%, nurse teachers should receive similar salary increases to those recommended for other Management grades and that the same phasing arrangements should apply. The Court makes this revised recommendation in recognition of the change in their role arising from the implementation of the Commission's proposal, and on the basis that this will dispose of the pay issue.
The Court also calls on employers to engage in early discussions with nurse teachers to clarify matters of concern to this group in relation to their future conditions.
The parties have agreed to address immediately the problem relating to inconsistency of arrangements for nurses participating in training courses. This was recommended strongly in Labour Court Recommendation LCR16261.
Partnership 2000 - 2%
Both parties wish to record the acceptance by the Nursing Alliance of Management's proposals for the application of Clause 4 of the Annex on Public Service Pay of Partnership 2000 by way of a 2% increase on all points of all nursing scales and allowances, with effect from the 1st of July, 1999.
Reports of Commission on Nursing
The Court notes that the parties have arranged a mechanism to prioritise the implementation of the proposals in the Report, which will speedily bring about the major changes welcomed by the nursing profession. (Appendix 4).
This dispute is unlike any other in the industrial relations arena, given its serious effect on the health of a wide range of people. The Court is conscious of the serious hardship being suffered by patients, the community at large, nurses, doctors and a wide range of health workers.
Throughout this strike the Alliance indicated that it would not be prepared to call off the strike "unless there was money on the table".
Given that proposals are now on the table for the settlement of this dispute the Court would strongly urge the Nursing Alliance leadership to suspend their strike. Nothing further can be achieved by continuation of the strike pending the outcome of a ballot.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27th October, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.