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
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
2. The dispute concerns Bed Managers nationwide. Following the resolution of a dispute by nursing staff in Accident & Emergency departments the Labour Relations Commission issued settlement proposals which were accepted by both parties. The proposal include a review of the role of the head of the bed management function across the acute hospital sector. Under the subsequent working group Capita Consultants were commissioned to undertake the review of the bed management function. The current dispute is a response to Capita's grading recommendations which are as follows:
- Category A Hospitals - Administrative Grade 8 with salary adjusted to be equivalent to the Assistant Director of Nursing.
- Category B Hospitals - Administrative Grade 7 with salary adjusted to be equivalent to CNM 3.
- Category C Hospitals - Administrative Grade 6 with salary adjusted to be equivalent to CNM 2.
The Union position is that bed managers should be designated Grade 8, Grade7 and Grade 6 in Category A, B and C hospitals respectively. They do not accept the salary adjustment. The HSEA accept the recommendations of Capita.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission held on the 5th April, 2004. 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 11th June, 2004.
3.. 1. That a job can be evaluated at a particular grade and then simply adjusted to another grade that works fewer hours and attracts a higher salary cannot be objectively justified.
2. The clarification provided by CAPITA offers an explanation which simply does not explain the requirement for the adjustment.
3. The Union state that Bed Managers are equal to any and all Grade 8 posts in the health service.
4. 1. CAPITA have clarified that the salary levels recommended are based on nursing scales and management accept this clarification.
2. Concession of this claim would dismantle the established pay and grading structure for nurses and lead to knock-on claims from senior clerical and administrative grades.
3. This claim is cost increasing and therefore precluded under Section 19.6 of Sustaining Progress.
The Court has difficulty in understanding the import of the consultant's recommendations as contained at paragraph 5.4 of their report. The Court recommends that the parties should ask the consultants to definitively clarify if they evaluated the post of Bed Manager as being the equivalent of a Grade 8, 7 or 6 post, as the case may be, in terms of its content, duties, responsibilities and qualifications.
If they did so evaluate the post there can be no justification for paying a lower salary (and other benefits) than that attaching to the equivalent post.
The parties should address the matter in light of the consultants' clarification and this recommendation. If agreement is not reached the matter should be referred back to the Court for a definitive recommendation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st June, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.