INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
CAPPAGH ORTHOPAEDIC HOSPITAL
(REPRESENTED BY HSEA)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. 1. Compensation for porter carrying bleeps. 2. An allowance of 8% for a ward domestic attending to clinical waste(St. Pauls). 3. Ward domestics required to carry out cleaning of toilets and serve food over the period of their weekend shifts.
2. The Union submitted a claim as outlined above on behalf of porters and ward domestics employed by the hospital. It claims that all porters carrying a bleep should be paid an 8% differential each time they carry out this task. The Union states that recently recruited porters who carry a bleep do not receive the 8% differential
The Union is also seeking an allowance of 8% for a ward domestic who attends to clinical waste. The allowance is paid to a porter who is responsible for clinical waste collections in the hospital.
The Union also argues that ward domestics should not be required to wash and clean toilets over the weekend while they are on catering duties.
Management stated that there was no basis for the Union's claim and rejected it.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Conciliation conferences were held on the 22nd November, 2001, and on the 14th May, 2002, but agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 20th May, 2002, under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 16th October, 2002.
Porters carrying bleep
3. 1. All porters who carry a bleep should be paid the 8% allowance.
4. 1. The 8% differential for carrying a bleep has been paid to some staff employed in "specialist" areas.
2. The terms of employment for a recently recruited porter required to carry a bleep is without any additional payment being made.
Clinical waste - (St Pauls) payment of 8%
5. 1. Clinical waste is collected by a porter who is paid an 8% differential for this work. However, a ward domestic who collects clinical wastein St. Paul's ward does not get the 8% differential.
6. 1. St Paul's ward is an isolation unit within the hospital. The functions of the staff in this unit is to tie bags of clinical waste and remove them to another area for collection.
Cleaning / Catering Duties
7. 1. Workers engaged in serving food should not be expected to clean toilets and wash areas for hygienic reasons.
2. Performing these duties in tandem is a concern to the workers, both for their own safety and the health and safety of patients in the hospital.
8. 1. The role of the household staff at weekends is a long established practice and has always included duties both of a catering and cleaning nature.
2. The number of staff roistered at weekends is less than on Monday to Friday which reflects the reductions in service activities in the hospital.
3. The duties of the household staff are segregated during the course of the roster with the catering duties i.e. serving of breakfast at 7am, followed by cleaning duties, followed by serving lunch later.
The Court has given careful consideration to the submissions made by the parties and recommends as follows:
Claim 1 and 2.
These claims should be considered together since they both relate to an 8% allowance which is payable within the sector in respect of specialist work. The carrying of a bleep is not specialist work and a claim for payment of this allowance for so doing is not sustainable. Whilst there appears to be some uncertainty surrounding the circumstances in which another Porter was paid this allowance, even if there is an anomaly this would not justify extending the allowance beyond the range of duties for which it was intended.
Similar considerations apply in relation to the disposal of clinical waste. The position appears to be that in hospitals generally the allowance is confined to the person designated as Clinical Waste Porter. That is the current position in Cappagh.
In these circumstances the Court does not recommend concession of these claims. The Court does, however, recommend that the parties clarify, at an appropriate level, the range of duties to which the payment of this allowance applies. The agreed practice should then apply uniformly and consistently throughout the sector.
Both parties accept that the highest standards of hygiene should be observed at all times and in this regard best practice should be observed. Whilst the Court fully endorses that position, it is not competent to determine what constitutes best practice in this area. The Court recommends that the parties should resume their discussions on this matter and seek the advice of an appropriate agency, or agencies, on the issues in contention.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
4th November, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.