INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
SOUTHERN HEALTH BOARD
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Dedicated Care Assistant grade
2. St Raphael's Centre, Youghal, Co Cork provides residential and day services for adults with an intellectual disability. It is the principle centre for the provision of such services for the Southern Health Board.
The dispute before the Court concerns the introduction of the Care Assistant grade into St Raphael's Centre. The Unions state that an agreement was concluded with management for the introduction of the Care Assistant Grade into St Raphael's Centre from the1st January, 2003. SIPTU argue that Care Assistants should not be expected to continue to work non Care Assistant duties. There should be a job description for Care Assistants and for Domestic Staff. Management, SIPTU claim, has failed to honour the agreement. IMPACT accepts the position of management that there will be a delay in recruiting new staff due to budgetary constraints.
Management states that there would be a delay in the transition to a dedicated Care Assistant grade due to budgetary constraints. However, it agreed to recruit 4 people immediately and would try and get permission to recruit the balance as soon as it was possible.
As no agreement was possible between the parties the dispute was referred to the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 9th January, 2003. The Industrial Relations Officer put forward proposals to resolve the dispute but these were rejected by the members. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 20th January, 2003 in accordance with Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. The Court investigated the dispute on the 29th January, 2003.
3. 1. The Care Assistants should not be required to do domestic duties with effect from the 1st January, 2003 in accordance with Management/Union agreement.
2. SIPTU put forward proposals to resolve the dispute without impacting on client care and with no cost increase for the Centre. However, the proposals were rejected.
3. Management has made no attempt to honour the agreement with the Union concerning the Care Assistants.
4. The members are frustrated and disillusioned with management for not honouring commitments agreed upon with the staff concerned.
4. 1. Management has at all times fully engaged with the Unions with regard to the introduction of the Care Assistant Grade into St Raphael's Centre.
2. An employment ceiling has been placed on all Health Boards by the Department of Health and Children for the year 2003.
3. The staff concerned are in receipt of the Care Assistant rate of pay and are not at any financial loss due to the delay in recruiting the extra staff.
4. Management remain committed to showing full regard for the job description and are seeking an adjustment in the time frame, which will allow this to be achieved.
The Employees involved in this dispute are being paid the Care Assistant rate and therefore, there is no financial loss due to the delay in implementing the full job description. However, they are being asked to continue to do some elements of work that was intended to be undertaken by Domestic Staff who would be put in place to allow the implementation of the full job description. Due to financial constraint imposed, management has been unable to implement the full plan at this time.
The Court having heard the written and oral submissions made by the parties finds the Management proposal, to recruit 4 people at this stage, while continuing to try and get permission to recruit the balance, to be reasonable in the circumstances. Other options put by the Union are either not operationally possible or result in cost increases that would require Departmental agreement.
Taking into account Management's stated commitment to prioritise seeking agreement to the new facility and their ongoing commitment to having full regard for the job description, the Court recommends that the employees operate as requested by management, and that the situation be reviewed on 01/01/04.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
5th February, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.