INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
NAZARETH HOUSE NURSING HOME
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Pay Rates.
2. Nazareth House Nursing Home is a privately run nursing home which provides residential care for the elderly. It employs approximately 100 staff. The Union's claim, on behalf of 67 workers employed as domestics, care attendants and catering staff, is for parity of pay with Health Board pay rates for those grades. The Employer rejected the claim on the basis of the cost involved. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held in October, 2002. Agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 13 November, 2002. A Court hearing was held on the 23rd January, 2003.
3. 1.While Management has rejected the Union's claim for improved pay, two other Nazareth House facilities in Mallow and Sligo pay Health Board rates.
2.The claimants carry out the same duties as non-nursing staff working in similar facilities run by the Health Boards. The claimants have a greater responsibility due to the poorer ratio of nurses to non-nursing staff in Nazareth House, Dublin.
3.Although the Employer is claiming inability to pay, significant capital expenditure has been injected into building and grounds facilities.
4 If rates of pay are not aligned with Health Board rates there will be difficulties in attracting and retaining staff thereby increasing pressure on the claimants to maintain adequate levels of care.
4. 1.The Home has incurred considerable losses in recent years and its financial situation has continued to deteriorate.
2.The Home is a voluntary non-profit making organisation which receives no direct funding from Government. There is no reason why it should be linked to public sector rates of pay. While both Mallow and the Sligo Homes receive substantial subvention from their respective Health Boards, Nazareth House Home only receives funding from the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA) in respect of 3 beds it has contracted to that agency.
3.The expenditure on building, referred to, related to essential refurbishment and was very moderate.
4.Concession of the claim would cost in excess of €146,216 which, in view of the Home's financial situation, is unsustainable.
5.The pay rates paid by the Home are competitive for the industry. The rates have been increased significantly since January, 2002.
6.The Home has sought ERHA funding for salaries and wages on numerous occasions without success.
7.Management will commit to paying all further increases due under the Programme For Prosperity and Fairness, including the Third Phase of 4% due on 1st March, 2003.
The Court has considered the submissions of both parties. Based on the information given by management at the hearing, the Court accepts that due to the lack of funding the organisation is not in a position to meet the claim as outlined. The Court is also of the view that the Union has not justified its claim for the application of Eastern Region Health Authority rates to apply in this organisation, which the Court is satisfied, is privately run. Accordingly, the Court does not recommend concession of the claim.
However, the Court recommends that the parties should meet and agree the establishment of rates of pay which will recognise the duties/skills involved in the different jobs performed by the claimants and recommends that the parties should also agree the introduction of service related payments.
The Court notes management's commitment to honour national wage agreements going forward.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27th January, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.