INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HEALTH SERVICE EMPLOYERS
REPRESENTED BY HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Dispute concerning pay and conditions.
2. The dispute concerns trainee clinical psychologists employed by the Health Boards. Following a seven year review into the psychological services an IMPACT/ Employers Joint Review Group produced an agreed report in March, 2002 which recommended that the number of posts be increased. The parties have agreed on fifty posts to be appointed on a three year contract. The trainee clinical psychologist must have a primary degree in psychology and a minimum of one year's work relevant to clinical psychology and most successful candidates will have a relevant postgraduate qualification in the field of applied psychology. During the three year training period each worker must complete six training rotations in each of the areas of adult mental health, intellectual disability, child and family services and in selected specialist areas. Currently trainee clinical psychologists are entitled to all employee rights and are paid a three point salary scale (€35,372 - €38,691). The grade is listed in the Department of Health and Children consolidated salary scales. The Department and the Health Boards have produced a document which proposes a bursary scheme to replace the salary scale attaching to the grade of trainee clinical psychologist in respect of all new applicants. It provides that each trainee receives a bursary of €24,000 per annum of which €11,000 would be payable in respect of course fees. The proposal was rejected by the Union. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held but agreement was not reached. On the 21st October, 2004 the dispute was referred to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 20th January, 2005.
3. 1. There is a very significant level of service provision within the training models. The majority of the trainee clinical psychologists time in work is spent on actual service delivery to clients in need. During the training period, trainees are under the supervision of more experienced colleagues which is not unusual in service delivery. The level and quality of service delivery is not diminished simply because they are supervised. Each trainee will have a significant throughput of cases per year. The proposed bursary model is precluded by legislation from providing the type of service referred to.
2. It is the Revenue Commissioners' advice that under Section 193 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, students in receipt of a bursary must sign a declaration that they will
(i) not provide a service to the sponsoring agency while in receipt of a bursary
(ii) it will not be a condition of receiving a bursary that they work for their sponsor for a designated period following a graduation.
otherwise, there is a tax liability on the bursary recipient.
Therefore with approximately €11,000 fees deducted from a total of €24,000, the trainees will receive €13,000 before tax under this proposal which is less than the minimum wage.
3. The bursary proposal is a unilateral imposition on the psychology structure. It would abolish a grade from the Psychology structure which is unacceptable. There has been no meaningful engagement with the Union on the matter.
4. Rather than increase the number of Psychologists in the service, the numbers willing to commit to the Health Service would reduce significantly in a very short time.
4. 1. The numbers employed in all psychology grades have increased significantly since 2000. The majority of the increases are at senior level and this has added substantially to overall resources. i.e the pay associated with the provision of psychological services.
2. Management is committed to the provision of additional training places in post-graduate clinical psychology in line with the recommendations of the Joint Review Group. It made no recommendation regarding the model to be adopted for providing the additional training places.
3. The adoption of a bursary training model is crucial to the provision of additional training places in circumstances where funding resources are constrained. A return to the situation where there is a very limited number of places is not tenable in light of pressing service requirements.
4. The bursary model has facilitated the launch of two new courses in clinical psychology in NUI Galway, and University of Limerick. If the employee model is imposed the sustainability of these courses on an ongoing basis is unlikely.
5. The ongoing cost of providing 50 training places using the employee model is very substantial. This level of support is not provided for under existing funding. The employee model will restrict training places to approximately 50% of the requirement, given current resources.
6. The bursary model is structured in such a way as to guarantee its tax-exempt status.
Following a review into psychological services, an IMPACT/HSEA Joint Review Group produced an agreed report in March, 2002 and recommended that in order to meet the long term human resource needs of the health service for clinical psychologists, the number of training posts in clinical psychology should be substantially increased and two new courses should be established at the National University of Ireland, Galway and the University of Limerick.
The Department of Finance directed that the new system should be funded within the funding allocated for the current system. The methodology proposed to implement the recommendations (proposed by Department of Health and Children/Health Boards' Director of Human Resources- DOHC/DHR) includes a replacement of the current Trainee Clinical Psychologist salary plus partial fee reimbursement model, with a bursary plus partial fee reimbursement model. The Union was not involved.
The Union acknowledges that in order to achieve additional training places in psychology and ensure best use of the available resources as recommended by the Joint Review Group, that measures need to be taken but states that no meaningful engagement has taken place with the HSEA on its implementation.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court does not recommend the abolition of an established agreed grade.
The Court recommends that immediate meaningful discussions should take place between the parties on implementing the recommendations of the Joint Review Group, in doing so the Court recommends that the proposals put forward by the DOHC/DHR should be examined in detail, including the tax implications. These discussions must have regard to the direction given by the Department of Finance. The Court recommends that the discussions should be completed by no later than 24th March, 2005.
As there is no agreement between the parties, the Court recommends that those currently on placement should not be penalised, therefore they should be covered by the existing terms and conditions of employment. Following completed discussions, new arrangements should apply to the new intake.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31st January, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.