INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(2), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
NATIONAL MATERNITY HOSPITAL
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH NURSES ORGANISATION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Breach of Sustaining Progress.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union that Management, having introduced a policy and procedure handbook in January 2004, without consultation with the relevant Trade Unions, are in breach of Sustaining Progress. The Unions contends that new procedures were introduced and that Management refused to recognise the workers right to be consulted in introducing a significant change in the workplace. Management rejects the claim and contends that it was formally documenting existing long established Grievance Procedures.
- 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 10th May, 2004, in accordance with Section 20 (2) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 20th August, 2004. Both parties agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
3. 1. Under clause 21.12 of Sustaining Progress, Management should have consulted with the Unions prior to introducing the handbooks and as a result of not doing so is in breach of the agreement.
2. In 2003 a National Joint Council Working Group developed a Grievance Procedure for the Health Service which was agreed at national level in November 2003. The proposed date for introduction was January 2004.
4. 1. The introduction of the handbook was merely a reflection of the previous practice of the hospital and how it dealt with grievances as they arose.
2. It was always the Hospitals intention to adopt all National Policies as it has been doing. Where new policies or procedures are to be introduced which would be outside of National Policies, there would be consultation with the relevant parties.
The Court would always advocate consultation and continuing dialogue between the Social Partners about matters of mutual concern. While this did not happen when the policy and procedures handbook was being compiled by the Hospital, the Court would not regard this omission as a "significant workplace initiative" within the meaning and spirit of paragraph 21.12 of "Sustaining Progress".
The Court also notes that the policy now accords with the National template produced under the auspices of the HSNJC and that the Hospital has committed itself to engaging with its workers and their Trade Unions on such matters.
The Court finds that there was no breach of "Sustaining Progress" and so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20th September, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.