INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
SOUTH EASTERN HEALTH BOARD
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Permanent status.
2. This dispute concerns a claim in respect of 7 community welfare officers, who have been employed in a temporary capacity long-term, to have their status regularised to that of permanent employees. Discussion took place locally but no agreement could be reached.
The matter was the subject of two conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on 4th of September, 2000, and 22nd of June, 2001. As no agreement could be reached, the matter was referred to the Labour Court on 18th of July, 2001 under Section 26 (1)(a)(b) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 21st of March, 2002.
3. 1. The workers have had no access to the superannuation scheme.
2. The workers have had no entitlement to the widows and orphans scheme.
3. The workers have been excluded from the full benefits of the sickness scheme.
4. The workers have been excluded from the career break and job sharing schemes.
5. The workers have been disbarred from applying for various internal appointments and other local authority positions.
6. Workers suffer the social stigma of "temporary employee".
4. 1. The Board is precluded from making any person permanent without a competitive interview and to depart from this would be contrary to Health Board, union and national policy.
2 The staff concerned have competed unsuccessfully in the past and have indicated that they are unwilling to compete again.
3. The Board cannot increase the number of permanent community welfare officer posts without the prior approval of the Departments of Social Community and Family Affairs and the Department of Finance.
4. There is no guarantee that the Social Welfare Allowance schemes will continue to be administered by the Health Boards in the future.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the parties.
It would appear from the arguments made before the Court that there is no major cost increase involved in changing the status from Temporary to Permanent, due to recent and imminent legislation changes.
The Court is satisfied that the Unions have a justifiable case and, therefore, recommends that the temporary positions be made Permanent.
However, the Court does not recommend concession of the Unions' claim that the positions be filled by conversion rather than competition.
The Court recommends that the positions be filled in the normal competitive basis.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th April, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Helena McDermott, Court Secretary.