INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
BELMULLET DISTRICT HOSPITAL
(REPRESENTED BY WESTERN HEALTH BOARD)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Loss of earnings in respect of night duty cover
2. The dispute relates to two night porters employed by the Western Health Board. The porters cover a period of 26 weeks night duty in the year, for which a night duty premium exists. A third porter employed by the Health Board sought equal access to the night duty rota and this was agreed between Management and the Union. The Union informed Management that they would be pursuing a claim for loss of earnings in respect of loss of certain night duty covered by the two individuals concerned.
Management rejects the claim on the basis that they should not be penalised for treating staff equally and fairly.
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 13th October 2003, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 18th November 2003.
3. 1. The inclusion of a third attendant on the night duty cover was granted without consultation with the two individuals already operating the system.
2. Management had no mandate to discuss compensation nor were they prepared to discuss other means of addressing the loss.
3. The loss of earnings by the two individuals is substantial and should be addressed.
4. 1. Management accommodated a member of staff seeking equal treatment and to deny access to the other staff member in this case would be unfair and discriminatory. Management ensure that all staff are treated equally and fairly.
2.It is not possible to compensate staff for loss of earnings due to the introduction of extra staff onto a rota and to have to do so would be unsustainable.
3. Management increase the number of staff on a rota to maintain a service and ensure quality and should not be penalised for doing so.
It was accepted by the Management and the Union that the additional porter would be added to a night duty roster.
It was also acknowledged that the claimants would suffer a loss of income as a result, and Management were warned that the Union would be pursuing a claim for loss of income.
The Court accepts Management's argument that the payment of compensation is not always justified when additional personnel are added to an area.
However in this case the manner of the implementation, with little if any discussion with the two effected employees, was less than satisfactory and unfair to the claimants.
The Court therefore recommends that payment of €1,000 to each of the claimants in settlement of this claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
8th December 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jo O'Connor, Court Secretary.