INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ST JOSEPH'S SCHOOL
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Live night cover by child care workers.
2. St Joseph's School is an industrial school in Clonmel which is funded by the Department of Education and Science. The dispute involves a claim by the Union on behalf of 45 Care Workers to change the present sleep-in cover arrangements with "live night "cover by Care Staff. At present the school employs two childcare workers at night on a "sleepover" basis reducing to one per night at weekends.
Management rejected the claim. It stated that the Union's proposal would result in having to employ at least another 20 residential Care Staff to provide for such a roster. It argues that there are no reasonable child protection concerns which would necessitate the change in the composition of the night service as proposed by IMPACT.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 4th of April, 2001 but no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 6th of April, 2001 under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 12th of March, 2002(earliest date suitable to the parties).
3. 1. The provision of two trained professional Care Staff on duty each night in each unit would enable staff to deal quickly and professionally with any incidents that might occur.
2. Many of the serious incidents that arise in St Joseph's, which is an open centre as opposed to a secure centre, occur at night.
3. The introduction of Care Staff for "live" night cover would facilitate a more professional and safe environment for both children and staff.
4. Some of the children at the school need specialist therapeutic care, which the Care Staff can provide.
4. 1. The current system is both effective in terms of childcare standards and the optimum deployment of resources to meet the needs of the children in care at the appropriate times.
2. The Union's proposal would be a waste of scarce resources.
3. Concession of the claim would have consequential knock-on effects in other young offender facilities under the Department of Education and Science.
4. The claim is cost increasing and is precluded by the terms of the current national agreement.
The Court, having considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties, is not satisfied that a sufficient case has been made to justify changing the working arrangements.
The Court, therefore, rejects the Union's claim in this case.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
22nd March, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.