INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYERS' AGENCY
- AND -
PSYCHIATRIC NURSES' ASSOCIATION
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Enhanced remuneration package.
2. The Unions are seeking an enhanced remuneration package for fifty control and restraint instructors who are based in the various Health Board areas.
The Unions argue that it is imperative that an appropriate remuneration structure be put in place to address (a) the responsibility involved in the duty, (b) compensation for loss of earnings arising from loss of access to premium earnings, (c) the stress and danger involved in the duty and (d) substantial training already undertaken by the members.
Management states that at present it found it difficult to find a mechanism for dealing with the claim having regard to the various Health Boards involved. It needed more time to resolve the problem and claims that staff would not lose out financially as a result of attending these training courses.
The Unions state that the claim has been ongoing since 1997 and that management has failed to adequately address the problem.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 8th of February, 1999. This conference was adjourned for a month on the basis that the employer would furnish its proposals on addressing the matter.
This did not happen and the parties agreed to refer the dispute to the Labour Court, on the 14th June, 1999, under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 27th of August, 1999.
3. 1. The Unions are seeking a remuneration package for the workers concerned based on the skills and techniques which they have in instructing people in the art of control and restraint.
2. Management recognises the merits of training their own instructors to further develop the skills of healthcare workers as recommended by the Health and Safety Authority.
3. The increasing trend of health workers being assaulted at work adds further weight to the need for training in control and restraint techniques.
4. An Bord Altranais recognised the need for training courses in control and restraint to be standardised to ensure that they met ethical and professional standards.
5. Because of the physical nature of the course, the risk of injury to course participants is higher than in their normal working environment.
6. In 1987, the North Western Health Board introduced a scheme of control and restraint for violent and agressive clients which proved to be very successful.
4. 1. Management has concluded an agreement with the nursing unions in relation to Location, Qualification and Specialist qualification allowances as part of Labour Court Recommendation 16083.
2. The claim can only be considered as part of an overall structured approach to addressing the management and prevention of violence and aggression.
3. Staff will not lose out financially as a result of undertaking these training courses for control and restraint instructors.
4. Training in the areas of control and restraint should be carried out as part of an identifiable training structure which meets the needs of health service employers.
5. Concession of the claim would have serious repercussive effects for management.
6. The claim is cost increasing and is, therefore, precluded under the "stabilisation" clause of Partnership 2000.
This case has not been helped by the time taken to respond to various communications from the Union side.
The Court is satisfied that the loss of earnings issue has now been addressed by the management proposal.
While accepting that there have been delays in dealing with this issue, it is in everyone's interest to have an agreed control and restraint instructors' framework.
With this in mind the Court recommends that the parties enter into discussion immediately on the management proposals, already given to the Unions.
These discussions to be completed by December, 1999 and the agreement reached to be implemented by the 1st of January, 2000.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th September, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.