INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
MIDLAND HEALTH BOARD
(REPRESENTED BY HSEA)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH MEDICAL ORGANISATION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Pierce
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioners Recommendation IR 8695/02/LM
2. In February, 1997, the worker wrote to the Programme Manager for Hospital Care of the Midlands Health Board seeking appropriate re-imbursement for additional administrative sessions in accordance with section 2.11.4 and section 4.5.1 of the Memorandum of Agreement, Consultant Common Contract 1997. The worker also pointed out that Consultant Geriatrician colleagues in a number of hospitals throughout the country were in receipt of additional sessional payments in recompense for additional administrative duties, over and above their contracted 11 session commitment under the common contract. The Board rejected the worker's claim in August, 1997.
The worker's hours are set at 33 per week but he claims that he constantly works 20 hours or more above this figure. The Board's view is that the worker should have pursued his claim though the Consultants' Grievance and Dispute Procedure.
The Union referred the case to the Rights Commissioner Service and a recommendation issued on the 30th of January 2003, as follows,
"For the reasons set out in the foregoing and taking cognisance of all the circumstances, I recommend payment to the worker by the M.H.B., of one additional session from the 1st January 2003, and the remainder of the worker's claim be considered under the auspices of the recently negotiated, Grievance and Disputes Procedures provided for under the consultants common contract."
The Board appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 24th of February, 2003, in accordance with section 13 (9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 11th of June, 2003, in Athlone.
3. 1. The Board is not aware of consultants in other hospitals being paid extra for additional hours worked.
2. The Board has consistently sought to improve the provision of medical services though the appointment of additional consultants, senior medical and related staff. The specific Consultant rota has improved from 1:2 to 1:5 in 2003.
3. Labour Court Recommendation (LCR) 17396 has previously considered the issue of clinicians in management and provides for discussions between the parties in regard to extra payments.
4. The claim, if conceded, will have a significant cost-increasing effect on Consultants' pay across the hospital system.
4. 1. The worker has been pursuing the claim since August, 1997. In March, 1998, he outlined in detail his claim to the Acting Hospital Administrator.
2. The Board has consistently acknowledged that there had been a marked increase in workload since 1995.
3. The Union is aware of consultants in Dublin and Cork who are getting paid for extra work done.
The Court notes that the claim giving rise to this dispute arose out of the terms of the common contract for Hospital Consultants. That contract provides a mechanism for resolving disputes of the type now before the Court. It is the Court's view that it is not appropriate to by-pass those procedures by referring such disputes elsewhere.
In the present case, however, the Court is satisfied that the claimant and his employer voluntarily agreed to submit their dispute to a Rights Commissioner, notwithstanding the availability of an alternative and more appropriate procedure. Against that background, the Court cannot accept that it is reasonable for the employer to alter its position and now claim that the Rights Commissioner should not have investigated the claim.
In all the circumstances of this case, the Court is of the view that the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner should be accepted. The Court makes this determination on the basis that it be accepted that any further cases of this nature should be processed through the appropriate procedures provided by the common contract. Further, the allowance recommended by the Rights Commissioner should be regarded as personal to the claimant and should not be relied upon or quoted in the support of any similar claim on the part of any other individual or group.
If any general arrangements are introduced in the future to cover the type of situation giving rise to the Rights Commissioner's recommendation, the allowance in question should be subsumed into such arrangements.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
7th July, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.