INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
ST MICHAEL'S HOSPITAL
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR 93/00/CW.
2. The Hospital is located at Dun Laoghaire. It employs approximately 250 employees. The worker concerned has been employed by the hospital since 1979 as a night porter on a week on / week off basis.
On the 29th of October, 1999, the worker concerned was threatened during an incident in the Casualty Department. He wrote to Management reporting the incident and requested that the issue of security in the hospital be addressed. He states that he did not receive a reply to his letter. In January and May, 2000 further incidents occurred.
The Union, on behalf of the worker, is concerned that Management is not adequately addressing the security issues. Management states that issues in relation to hospital security are being addressed.
The issue was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation. His Recommendation issued on the 27th of March, 2000, as follows:
"I recommend the worker accepts that the hospital is addressing the concerns raised by him and that the dispute is resolved on this basis."
(The worker was named in the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation).
The Union appealed the Recommendation to the Labour Court, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal on the 15th of June, 2000, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. There is an inadequate security system in the hospital. Staff and patients face threatening and dangerous situations frequently and they are not trained to deal with such situations.
2. A Security Survey Report should be carried out and resources made available to implement the findings of such a survey. A security budget should be provided and a person allocated responsibility for overall security.
3. The worker concerned should be recompensed for the stress and pain suffered as a result of Management's failure to address his concerns.
4. 1. The hospital is actively pursuing the issues and concerns of the worker.
2. Issues in relation to hospital security are being addressed by:-
(i) Providing additional security staff to give day and night cover, seven days a week.
(ii) Issuing identification badges and personal alarms to staff.
(iii) Using the assistance of the Gardai.
(iv) A programme on how to deal with violence in the workplace will commence in July, 2000.
The Court's investigation of this issue was not helped by the non-attendance on the Management side of key individuals who had been involved in the Management investigation, following the claimant's complaints.
It is not clear how the investigation was conducted, why the complainant was not interviewed, what the findings were, or why there was no written outcome of the investigation.
While the Rights Commissioner appears to have accepted the assurances given that the hospital was addressing security and safety, the Court found little evidence to substantiate that any action of significance had taken place.
The Court agrees with the Rights Commissioner's statement "that questions of health and safety cannot be compensated by payments".
However, the Court finds the Union's request that
(a)a security survey be carried out by an appropriate body, such as An Garda Siochana,
(b) the resources necessary be made available to implement the findings of such a survey,
(c) a particular individual to be allocated responsibility for security, with a budget for safety and security as appropriate,
is not unreasonable in the circumstances. The Court recommends that the above be put in place immediately, and that the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation be amended accordingly.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th June, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.