INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
NATIONAL MATERNITY HOSPITAL
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH NURSES ORGANISATION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Interpretation of flexible voluntary time agreement to part time staff.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of it's members, who are employed as part time workers.A Flexible Working Agreement was put in place in the Health Services for full time staff and extended to cover part-time staff . The Union contend that Management have not interpreted the agreement correctly and are refusing to pay overtime rates to part-time staff when appropriate.
Management contend that they are applying the rules of theFlexible Working Agreement correctly and therefore rejects the claim.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 23rd July 2003, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 14th November 2003, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. Management has not interpreted and are not applying the rules of theFlexible Working Agreement correctly.
2.Members required to work outside their rostered part-time shift should be paid overtime at the appropriate rate as per the terms of the Flexible Working Agreement.
4. 1. Management is fully compliant with the operation of theFlexible Working Agreement.
2. The Union did not outline where it was having difficulty in relation to the operation of the agreement, leaving Management in difficulty in determining what issues exist.
The Court has been asked by the parties to interpret an agreement reached by HSEA and INO in 2001 concerning flexible working arrangements in the Health Service - in particular the section dealing with the following:-
Circumstances within which payment at overtime rates in respect of additional hours worked will be applicable upon introduction of flexible working arrangements.
The case has been referred to the Court under Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990.
The Union are claiming that the agreement is being incorrectly interpreted by the hospital and relies on one example contained in the agreement to substantiate its claim.
The Court notes that the example relied upon, does not appear to be consistent with the remainder of the agreement, which outlines overtime arrangements for part-time workers. However, the hospital is prepared to stand over this example and hasgiven a commitment to the Court that in the event of such a situation arising, overtime will be paid in line with that in the example.
Having examined the agreement the Court is satisfied that the hospital is correctly interpreting the agreement.
The Court recommends that the parties should meet to discuss and resolve any particular individual difficulties, which arise.
The Court has not examined this case under the terms of the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act, 2001 ( the Act).
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
8th December 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jo O'Connor, Court Secretary.