INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
MOOREHAVEN CENTRE (TIPPERARY) LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Re-hearing arising from LCR16300.
2. The full background to the case is contained in the LCR16300 which dealt with rates of pay for Houseparents in the Centre. There are 5 workers involved in the present case. A number of issues remained outstanding and the case was referred back to the Court. A hearing took place on the 5th of June, 2001, following which the parties attended 2 conciliation conferences with the Labour Relations Commission. The issues now unresolved are retrospection in respect of pay claims and a new issue of the working hours of Houseparents.
Houseparents in the Centre have worked an agreed roster for over 3 years as follows:-
(1) 4.20 p.m. to 10.00 a.m. on the following morning, Monday to Friday
(2) 4.30 p.m.on Friday throughout the weekend until 10.00 a.m. on Monday.
The Unions claim that the hours between midnight and 8.00 a.m. have always been counted as working hours and attracted full pay. This means that, on average, Houseparents work approximately 45 hours per week. The issue in dispute now is that management intends introducing reduced working hours to facilitate a "sleep-in " arrangement between the hours of midnight and 8.00 a.m. which would attract an allowance of €36.
Management's case is that the Houseparents presently only work 26.5 "waking hours" per week
plus 7 x 8-hours sleepovers in a 3-week period.
Following the 2 conciliation conferences, the case was referred to the Labour Court on the 4th of December, 2001, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 12th of February, 2002, in Clonmel.
3. 1. Management had not previously indicated that it would be seeking changes in the agreed level of working hours. In fact, at the first conciliation conference in October, 2001, it agreed to the application of Health Board rates of pay and allowances for Houseparents.
2. The introduction of the "sleep-in" arrangement would reduce the workers' hours to 26 per week. Even the €36 per night allowance is not guaranteed and is variable in relation to sick leave and annual leave.
3. The application of the Health Board rates of pay and allowances would be a negligible improvement on current rates of pay.
4. If the Centre is to introduce formal sleep-in arrangements then it should also include the practice of "live night" cover in line with Health Board policy.
4. 1. Houseparents in the Centre work "waking hours" of 26.5 per week. In comparison, organisations such as the Brothers of Charity South East (which pays the Department of Health and Children Assistant Houseparent rate) and the Charleville & District Organisation operate rotas of 39 hours per week. In addition, Assistant Houseparents in the Brothers of Charity work another 58 hours per fortnight as "sleep-over" hours and receive an allowance of €36 per night.
2. If the Centre's approach were conceded, a Houseparent in the Centre who was on the bottom point of the scale at €13,165.91 per year, would, on a pro-rata basis, earn €19,629.80, inclusive of sleepover allowance. Those on the top point would move from €23,085.11 to €24,423.52, inclusive of sleepover allowance. In the present case, 3 workers would receive increases of €5,653 per annum and the remaining 2 would get increases of €3,912.
3. Concession of the claim would have a serious knock-on effect.
4. On the issue of retrospection, the Centre does not have the resources to meet the Unions' claim, and there is no guarantee that funding will be forthcoming from the Health Boards.
Two remaining issues were referred back to the Court for adjudication following LCR No. 16300 and subsequent discussions at the Labour Relations Commission; (1) retrospection in respect of pay claims and (2) application of the rates of pay for houseparents for all hours inclusive of "sleep over" hours.
Due to the length of time it has taken to bring this matter to a conclusion, the Union is seeking retrospection of the now agreed Department of Health and Children Assistant Houseparent scale to the position of Houseparents within the Moorehaven Centre. The Union also has difficulty with management's application of these agreed rates of pay. Management sought to pay only for "waking hours" so as to facilitate a "sleep-in" arrangement between the hours of 12 midnight and 8.00 a.m. This arrangement attracts an allowance of €36.06 which is the appropriate allowance for Houseparents under the conditions pertaining to the Department of Health and Children. Under these conditions, only those on "live nights" are paid for the hours worked.
The Court is of the view that in seeking and accepting the Department of Health and Children Assistant Houseparent rates of pay, the Union must also accept the accompanying conditions of employment and, therefore, does not recommend concession of the claim. However, in recognition of the consequent implications of this on Houseparents remuneration, the Court recommends that if individuals wish to change their roster so as to cover more "waking hours", then every effort should be made by management to facilitate this change.
In recognition of the length of time it has taken to resolve this case, the Court recommends that in return for acceptance of this recommendation, the appropriate rates of pay should be paid retrospective to November, 2000.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
11th March, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.