INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ST FRANCIS PRIVATE HOSPITAL
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Parity with Health Board rates.
2. This dispute concerns a claim by the Union, on behalf of 58 workers, for pay parity with Health Board rates.The nursing home is a "not for profit facility" sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. Discussions took place locally but no agreement could be reached. The matter was the subject of a Conciliation Conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission but no agreement was reached.
The matter was referred to the Labour Court on the 8th, February, 2002, under Section 26 of the Industrial Relations Act , 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 25th June 2002.
3. 1. The claim is cost increasing and barred under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (P.P.F.).
2. The hospital is a private organisation not linked to the Health Board, Department of Health or to any other government agency - it does not receive any funding from the government and cannot afford to pay such rates.
3. The hospital has already been forced to concede the claim to the nursing staff to ensure that it could remain open.
4. Concession of the claim would lead to an increase of €360,605.61 on the annual paybill.
5. Concession of the claim would mean that the hospital would no longer be viable and would be forced to close.
4. 1. The Union believes that the duties being performed by worker in St. Francis Private Hospital are on a par if not beyond the performance of similar workers in all other hospitals and so they should be remunerated accordingly.
2. Management have cited P.P.F. as a reason not to honour our claim despite the fact that other members in the nursing grade had the same claim conceded and they also received all increases due under P.P.F.
3. Other private hospitals such as Bon-Secour, Mater Private and St. Vincent's Private pay rates identical to those which apply in the National Health Service.
4. Long serving members with up to 30 years service have no Occupational Pension Scheme to look forward to in retirement due to their dedication and generosity to the hospital.
5. No real offer of any kind has been made by management to improve basic pay.
6. This hospital accepts VHI amongst others for insurance cover and such insurance companies use health board pay rates when calculating its cost to the client.
The Court notes that an identical claim to that being pursued in the present case has been conceded by the Hospital in respect of another group of employees. In those circumstances, the Hospital cannot realistically rely on the PPF to resist the present claim. Furthermore, the Court was informed that the workers have joined the Union in relatively recent times and the basic pay structure was in place before they joined.
The Court has taken full regard to the financial position of the hospital. It is, however, clear that the present rates are seriously out of line with appropriate rates in comparable employments. The concession of Health Board rates to a number of their nursing colleagues has served to exacerbate that situation.
In the circumstances, the Court recommends that the dispute be resolved on the following basis.
1. On acceptance of this Recommendation, an increase equal 50% of the difference between the employee's current rate and 1st point on the Health Board scale should be paid.
2. After a period of 12 months, the remaining 50% of the difference should be paid.
3. After a further period of 12 months, the parties should meet to agree terms for the full implementation of the Health Board scales including incremental progression.
4. In the period up to the full implementation referred to at 3 above, there should be no further cost increasing claims outside national pay movements.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th July, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Gerardine Buckley, Court Secretary.