INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
SOUTH EASTERN HEALTH BOARD
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY THE PSYCHIATRIC NURSES' ASSOCIATION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Compensation for vacating nurses' residence.
2. The nurses' residence in St. Luke's Hospital, Clonmel, was built in 1910 to provide accommodation for nurses working and training in the service at a time when it was necessary to live-in.
In July, 1998, there were three nurses (plus some student nurses) resident in the home, including the worker concerned who had been a resident since 1971. The worker claims that she was informed verbally that she would have to vacate the building to facilitate refurbishment, and that the building would no longer be provided as accommodation for nurses. The worker claims that she was initially informed by her fellow residents and the news was subsequently confirmed by an Assistant Chief Nursing Officer (ACNO). The worker vacated the premises on the 3rd of August, 1998.
The Board claims that the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) met with the worker in June, 1998, to discuss the move, and maintains that the worker had sufficient time to make arrangements for alternative accommodation.
The Union referred that issue to the Labour Court on the 23rd of October, 1998, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 8th of September, 1999, in Clonmel, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. On the 12th of March, 1997, the Union wrote to the Hospital expressing concern about the condition of some of the rooms provided in the nurses' home. The CNO's reply (details supplied to the Court) indicates that the Board was formulating plans to change the usage of the home as early as March, 1997.
2. The manner in which the worker was informed of the move was regrettable, to say the least. She had been resident in the home for 27 years and deserves compensation for the inconvenience, stress and disruption caused.
3. The worker was paying £70 per month for accommodation in the home. She is now paying £150 per month. The Board did nothing to help her find alternative accommodation, nor did it issue due notice to the worker to quit.
4. 1. The Board decided in 1998 to develop the nurses' home into a centre for Community Care Services. There is a requirement on the Board to provide accommodation for nurses undergoing psychiatric nurse training. The CNO explained the situation to the worker in June, 1998. There was nothing untoward in the manner in which the worker was informed of the Board's plans.
2. The worker enjoyed very low rent accommodation for 27 years, but this does not entitle her to compensation when the Board required the home for other uses.
The Court is of the view that the claimant was badly treated by the Hospital, and deserved to be given far more consideration when the issue of change of use of the nurses' home was being considered. It appears to the Court that her tenancy was insensitively handled and very little, if any, consideration was given to her needs, fears and anxieties. This claimant has very long service, and had lived in the nurses' home for 27 years.
Therefore, the Court recommends that, given her exceptionally long tenure, she should be paid £1,000 compensation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
17th September, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.