INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
FINGLAS CHILDREN'S CENTRE
(REPRESENTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & SCIENCE)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Claim for an allowance for dealing with disturbed adolescents.
2. The Union's claim is for the payment of a Disturbed Adolescent Allowance (DAA) to care staff employed at the Finglas Children's Centre. The Centre is comprised of two schools - St. Laurence's Industrial School and St. Michael's Remand and Assessment Unit. There are approximately 18 care staff employed in St. Michael's and 20 employed in St. Laurence's.
In 1995, the Labour Court recommended payment of an allowance of £1,150 to workers employed at Oberstown Boys' Centre (LCR 14891). The present claim was first submitted in 1996 and has been the subject of local negotiations and of conciliation conferences at the Labour Relations Commission in 1998 and 1999. At conciliation Management indicated that it could contemplate the payment of the allowance in certain circumstances to staff at St. Michael's, but not to staff employed at St. Laurence's. The Union rejected this offer and the issue was referred to the Labour Court on the 8th of July, 1999, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 30th of September, 1999, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. St. Michael's Assessment Unit screens all children for onward referral to special schools. It is not always clear whether a child is violent or not, therefore staff must remain constantly vigilant and be prepared for possible assaults at any time. The staff work in dangerous and stressful conditions. Many of them have been physically assaulted and have suffered injury and stress as a result.
2. Staff in St. Laurence's also work in dangerous and stressful conditions, similar to those in Oberstown House. The only difference is that St. Laurence's caters for children from 13 to 15½ years old, while Oberstown House caters for 15-16 year olds. Children of 13-15 years of age are as capable of violent attack as children of 15-16. Many staff have been the subject of physical assault, on occasion requiring hospital treatment and resulting in absence from work, physical injury and psychological stress.
3. The Department of Education and Science recognises that staff in St. Michael's are entitled to some level of compensation, although the amount has not yet been agreed. The Union is seeking application of the full amount paid to staff in Oberstown House for all care staff employed at the Finglas Children's Centre.
4. 1. The claim is a cost increasing claim which is precluded under the terms of PCW and P2000. The annual cost would add at least 5% to the wage bill.
2. Concession of the claim would have knock-on effects in both the teaching and non-teaching areas. The Teachers' Conciliation Council has rejected a similar claim from teachers, but they would expect to receive the allowance if care staff receive it. Staff at another special school in Clonmel would also expect payment of the allowance.
3. Labour Court Recommendation LCR 14891 recommended payment of the allowance for dealing with disturbed adolescents committed to Reformatory Schools. St. Laurence's is an Industrial School. Children at St. Laurence's are generally younger and less difficult than children committed by the Courts to Oberstown House. There is also a legal provision for the transfer of difficult children from an Industrial School to a Reformatory School.
4. While some children assessed at St. Michael's may be sent on to a Reformatory School, they may equally be sent to an Industrial School, put on probation or even sent home. Management was willing to consider the payment of an allowance to staff at St. Michael's only, but the Union did not accept this. In view of the average age and level of difficulty presented by most of the children involved, the payment of an allowance is not warranted.
The Court notes that the Employer accepts that the Union's claim has merit in so far as it relates to St. Michael's Centre. They do not accept that the allowance should be payable in respect of St. Laurence's Centre.
The Court has considered the submissions of the parties and the additional information subsequently provided in relation to this case. On the basis of this information, and having regard to the arrangements in respect of similar establishments in Britain and Northern Ireland (which were taken into account by the Court in Recommendation LCR14891) the Court is not satisfied that it should recommend that the allowance claimed be paid in respect of St. Laurence's Centre.
The Court recommends that the allowance be paid in respect of St. Michael's Centre but not in respect of St. Laurence's.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th April, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.