INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE -MIDLAND AREA
- AND -
IRISH MEDICAL ORGANISATION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Retrospective payment of a shift allowance.
2. The issue before the Court relates to a claim by Non- Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHD’s) working in the Accident & Emergency Department of the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore. They are seeking the retrospective payment of a shift allowance from April 2000 to July 2004 in respect of a non-continuous roster, which did not extend beyond 12 midnight and is not comprehended by the NCHD Agreement of 2000.
The claim was initially made on behalf of 10 NCHD's but was later confirmed by the Union as being made on behalf of 27 named NCHD's (management named up to 30 NCHD).
Since the 1st July 2004 a 24 hour shift, 7 day week cycle has been introduced and payment for this has been made in line with the terms outlined in the July 2000 agreement, which outlines the payment terms for NCHD’s working a 24 hour shift routine.
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 29th September 2004, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 4th October, 2005.
3. 1. The NCHD's took up employment on the understanding that they would be in receipt of all the applicable allowances that were agreed in line with this grade.
2. The contracts issued to the NCHD's did not state that a shift allowance was not applicable to those working in the Midland Regional Hospital at Tullamore.
3. The NCHD's working in the A & E Department of the Midland Regional Hospital made themselves available to work the 24 hour shift routine.
4. 1.The NCHD roster in the A & E Department at the Midland Regional Hospital did not extend beyond 12 midnight until the 1st July 2004 from which date it has attracted shift payment.
2. Prior to 1st July 2004 the NCHD's did not work a full rotating 24 hour shift pattern and were paid in line with the terms and conditions of the NCHD 2000 Agreement.
3. The NCHD Agreement of 2000 is very specific in stating that a shift premium is payable to NCHD's working in A & E in respect of a continuous rotating shift over a 24 hour, 7 day cycle.
The claim made on behalf of 27 named NCHD's in the Accident and Emergency Department of Tullamore General Hospital sought the retrospective payment of a shift allowance from July 2000 to July 2001.
The Union submitted to the Court that although the agreement in place between the parties stated that a shift premium applies to a continuous rotating shift cycle over a 24 hour, 7 day week cycle, that those NCHD's who accepted position in the A & E Department working a three shift non continuous cycle over a 16 hour day should similarly be paid a shift premium. It argues that the fact that they are working unsocial hours implies that they should be paid a shift premium.
The Court notes that both the agreement made in 2000 and the contracts of employment are very specific in terms of when the shift premium applies. Neither state that a shift premium will be paid for the hours they are required to work therefore, the Court can see no reason justifying the claim. The Court does not accept the argument that it is an implied term of their contract that they should be paid shift premium for working the hours specified in their contracts.
Accordingly, the Court rejects the claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th October, 2005______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.