INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
WESTERN HEALTH BOARD
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY P O'CONNOR & SON SOLICITORS)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioners Recommendation IR 6400/01/GF
2. The worker is employed with the Western Health Board for over 25 years at the Sacred Heart Home, Castlebar. On the 14th August 2001 the worker was informed by the Health Board that she was one of 7 people chosen for staff rotation between St. Mary's Hospital, Castlebar and staff in the Sacred Heart Home, Castlebar. She informed the Board of her unwillingness to co-operate in staff rotation and referred her case to the Union.
The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation, On the 18th April, 2002 the Rights Commissioner issued his recommendation as follows:-
"I am recommending that both parties make a commitment to re-visit the rotation programme.
Both parties will engage actively in discussions with a view to resolving the issue.
It is acknowledged that the principle of rotation is a good one and of benefit to staff and the service.
I believe this exercise should be completed within a period of 4 months".
On the 2nd May 2002 the worker appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal on the 11th March 2003, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3.1.The worker has been employed for the Western Health Board of a period of 25 years and has an impeccable record. When the Board outlined its proposals for staff rotation she expressed her concerns at her name been mentioned and selected for staff rotation. At a meeting on 14th August 2001 she was informed that she was one of 7 people selected for staff rotation. She never volunteered asked for staff rotation.
2.On the 18th September, 2001 a meeting was held between the Board and IMPACT (who originally represented the worker). At that meeting the Union sought clarification from the Board of the process used to select the staff for rotation. A satisfactory answer was not given.
3. Consultations did not take place with the worker prior to her being mentioned for staff rotation. No clarification or job description was given to the worker either before or after she had been selected for rotation. She initially accepted the staff rotation and then refused it.
4. The Union at the time reiterated its position in relation to the proposed rotation of the worker on the grounds that she did not seek a rotation to another location. Any attempt by the Board to compulsory rotate the worker out of her present work location was not acceptable.
4. 1 In July 2001, the Manager in consultation with the Administration Staff Officer agreed that a staff rotation programme would be implemented between admin/clerical staff in both hospitals. The reasons given were:
- It would be in the best interest of staff involved as it would facilitate staff development and be beneficial to any member of staff undertaking interviews for promotion.
- It would be beneficial to the services. Staff would be trained in more systems and greater cover would be available in the event of sick or other leave. This would provide greater flexibility, and efficiency in the Management of the services.
- 2 Following the Rights Commissioner's investigation into the issue, the Board were aware through IMPACT'S submission to the Rights Commissioner that the worker was willing to participate in a rotation programme within the confines of the Sacred Heart Hospital in Castlebar. The board offered a rotation to the worker. The worker refused to accept the Board's offer.
3. The Board's position is that in the interest of quality service and employee development staff rotation is necessary. The Union in principle agree with this position. Every effort has been made to facilitate the worker's concerns and needs in the context of the Board's proposal.
The Court has considered the position of both sides to this appeal of the Rights Commissioner's recommendation. The Court notes that an agreement exists between the Board and IMPACT on a staff rotation scheme designed to facilitate staff development and staff promotional prospects through training opportunities and greater opportunities for experience. The scheme provides for benefits to the Board in allowing greater flexibility and efficiency in the management of services. The Court understands the Boards need to progress with the introduction of the scheme and accordingly recommends its immediate implementation.
Having considered the position of the appellant, the Court notes the Board's agreement to her request to remain in employment in the Sacred Heart Home. Accordingly on that basis, the Court recommends that the appellant should participate in the scheme and the Board should consult with her and make every effort to accommodate her concerns.
The Court notes the Board's confirmation that the rotation position offered is commensurate with her current grade.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th March, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.