INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYERS' AGENCY
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Increase in on-call and sessional fees.
2. The issue before the Court concerns a claim by the Union for an increase in on-call and sessional rates for Radiography Grades in respect of their provision of out of hours services.
The dispute arises from the report of the Expert Group on Radiography Grades. The Union claims that the employers interpretation of clause 53 of that report has deprived Radiographers of the benefits of the award on their on-call rate and session rates. The employers interpretation has also had the effect of depriving those Radiographers who work part-time, of any adjustment in their pay.
Management rejected the Union's claim. It states that Radiography Grades benefited very significantly from the findings of the Expert Group Report. Management have ensured that all the recommendations of that report have been or are being put in place at considerable additional cost to the Exchequer.
As there was no agreement between the parties, the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held at which no agreement was reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 30th January, 2003 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 26th March, 2003.
3. 1. Management have no justification for the interpretation they have taken from the Expert Group Report.
2. The employer is acting contrary to the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act, 2001, in that the terms available to sessional Radiographers are now less favourable relative to their whole time colleagues.
3. The current on-call rate is €19.60. The adjustment to the rate has always been arrived at by applying the increases, as they arise, at the 6th point of the basic scale to the on-call rate.
4. In March 1987, the Labour Court issued Recommendation LCR11031 which set out the rates to apply to sessions. These rates have always been adjusted again by reference to the 6th point of the basic scale.
4. 1. This is a significant cost increasing claim and is precluded under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
2. Concession of the claim would cost in the region of €1 million per annum. It would also serve to reopen P.C.W. deals in respect of other grades such as medical laboratory scientists, the therapy professions and nurses, all of whom concluded restructuring deals as part of their P.C.W. negotiations.
3. The claim for adjustment sought by the Union is specifically excluded by the contents of paragraph 53 of the Expert Group Report. This report was accepted in full by the staff side.
4. No additional funding was provided for the implementation of the Expert Group Report. This deal had to be paid for out of savings generated from PRSI changes introduced in the 2002 budget.
5. Any concession to Radiographers arising from this claim can only be paid for if services are cut back in other areas.
The net issue arising in this case relates to the intentions of the Expert Working Group on Radiography Grades with regard to the adjustment of the on-call allowance which is the subject of this dispute. Whilst the Court appreciates that this group has discharged the function for which it was established and that it has no continuous existence, its members may be in a position to clarify what was intended by the paragraph of the report at issue.
The Court recommends that the parties should formulate an agreed question on the meaning of the relevant provision. They should then contact the former chairperson of the group so as to ascertain if they can be of further assistance in providing clarification on the issue in question.
If the Working Group is unable to assist further for any reason the Court will endeavour to formulate an interpretation of the relevant recommendation based on the submissions already made.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
_14th April, 2003_______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.