INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYERS AGENCY
- AND -
(IRISH NURSES' ORGANISATION)
(SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
(PHYCHIATRIC NURSES' ASSOCIATION)
IRISH MUNICIPAL PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Application of specialist and location allowances to grades above Clinical Nurse Manager 2.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Unions on behalf of their members employed as Clinical Nurse Managers grade 3 and Assistant Directors of Nursing for the application of location and specialist qualification allowances. The Unions contend that lower managerial grades, when allowances are included, are earning more than their managers and they are seeking to have this anomaly addressed.
- Management rejects the claim on the basis that an agreement was reached whereby both location and qualification allowances would be paid up to and including Clinical Nurse Managers 1 and 2. Grades above these would not be eligible.
- 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 15th April, 2004 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 30th June, 2004, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. This is a claim for the application of allowances to grades above CNM grade 2. The Unions were always conscious of the fact that resolution of the issue at CNM grade 3 level had a consequence for the Assistant Director of Nursing level and, therefore, frames the claim to deal with the issue rather than solve one anomaly but create an even worse one at the next level.It is unreasonable for the employer to hold out the prospect of resolving one anomaly on the basis that, although it manifestly creates another, the Unions would have to refuse to process claims on behalf of members in the affected grade.
2. It is accepted that the present arrangements are the agreed arrangements at the end of the 1999 strike. They are, however, imperfect and have provided real practical difficulties in recruiting and retaining people at the CNM grade 3 level. Employers at local level have recognised this and, in some instances, have applied the allowances on a personal to holder basis.
3. There can be no justification for an Assistant Director of Nursing non band 1 being paid less than the CNM grade 2 in an accident and emergency department who reports to them or a CNM grade 3.
4. 1. There is no basis for the payment of the allowance to nurse managers above the Clinical Nurse Manager 2 grade. Various agreements on the payment of allowances since 1999 have been based on the clear and explicit acceptance that grades above Clinical Nurse Manager 2 grade are not eligible for payment of allowances.
2. A 'marked time scheme' was introduced to take account of the loss of earnings of a nurse being promoted from CNM grade 2 to CNM grade 3. The duties of Assistant Directors of Nursing are not clinical duties and therefore cannot come within the scope of the qualification allowance. Labour Court Recommendations LCR 16261 comprehensively dealt with matters of differentials and the salary structures for promotional grades and LCR 16330 dealt with the differential between the CNM grade 2 with the qualification allowance and the CNM grade 3.
3. The claim is cost increasing and is in breach of Clause19.6 of Sustaining Progress.
The claim is based on what the Unions regard as an anomaly in the scale applicable to the CNM3 grade relative to that of CNM2 when combined with the allowance. The Unions contend that if this anomaly were to be corrected by the extension of allowances to CNM3 a further anomaly would arise as between the pay of that grade and the grade of Assistant Director of Nursing. On this basis the Unions' claim is for the application of Specialist Qualification Allowance/ Location Allowance to grades above CNM2.
The Management have indicated a willingness to address the claim in so far as it applies to CNM3 but only on the understanding that consequential claims will not be pursued in respect of higher grades.
The Court accepts that there may be a difficulty with the current pay structure as it applies to the CNM3 grade and certain Assistant Director of Nursing posts in the non band one hospitals. However the Court does not accept that concessions of the Unions claim would be the appropriate response to those difficulties. In particular, the Court can see no justification for the inclusion of those at Assistant Director of Nursing at band one hospitals, or their equivalent in other hospitals, in the claim having regard to the salary maximum currently applicable to those posts.
The parties should now resume negotiations at conciliation with a view to identifying the extent of any pay anomalies between the relevant grades. They should then seek to apply a suitable solution to the problem as identified having regard to the terms of current national agreements.
Should the matter remain unresolved it may be referred back to the Court.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
2nd July, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.