INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
IRISH BLOOD TRANSFUSION SERVICE
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION (AGEMO)
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Alleged breach of agreement re access to voluntary severance.
2. The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) is the national organisation responsible for ensuring a continuous blood supply to the acute health sector in Ireland, meeting the entire blood and blood components needs of the Irish Health Service.
The dispute before the Court concerns a claim by the Union on behalf of a group of Donor Attendants employed in the IBTS and located in the D’Olier Street Clinic alleging breach of an agreement regarding access to voluntary severance.
The alleged breach is in relation to Clause 3, page 3 of the Agreement reached in 2002, which relates to a voluntary redundancy provision. Clause 3 provides for the following:-
“Ex-gratia redundancy terms of 4 weeks pay per year of service plus statutory entitlements to be paid to all staff who apply for redundancy before 30th November 2002”.
Eight staff from the D’Olier Street clinic have exited the Service, a further nine staff are still waiting for their redundancy claims to be processed. The Company states that they are willing to facilitate these redundancies but in order to do so certain reorganisation of work practices is required. This is currently under discussion with the Union.
The dispute was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission in March, 2005, following which both sides agreed to a proposal which confirmed Clause 3, paragraph 3 of the 2002 Agreement and which also linked the timing of the redundancies to the implementation of the D'Olier Street Review process.
A further conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission took place in March 2006. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 21st April, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 16th August, 2006.
3. 1.The Union members involved in this dispute remained in the employment of the IBTS on the understanding that their redundancies were going to be processed.
2. The Union on behalf of their members are now requesting that the IBTS implement the terms of the Company/Union Agreement of 2002 in full and allow those who wish to exit the Organisation under the terms of that Agreement to do so.
3.The Union contends that the redundancies are not contingent on new work practices. All that was agreed at the conciliation conference in March 2005 was that the timing of the exits would be influenced by the D'Olier Street Review which was to conclude by June, 2005.
4. 1. The 2002 Agreement made provision for redundancyapplications only. Redundancy applications are considered and granted in accordance with the business needs of the organisation.
2. The IBTS cannot consider redundancies until the restructuring of D'Olier Street, which includes new rosters, is implemented.
3. The IRO brokered agreement of 2005 clearly linked the redundancy applications to the implementation of the D'Olier Street Review.
It is clear to the Court that the 2002 Agreement provided for applicants, including the Claimants, to avail of a redundancy package. This, in the Court's view, must be upheld.
The Agreement brokered in March 2005 by the IRO clearly, in the Court's view, linked the departures with the implementation of the roster review.
The Court accordingly recommends that the Claimants be allowed to leave as soon as a redundancy situation exists, which will happen when agreement is reached on revised rosters and an implementation date has been agreed for those revised rosters.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th August, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.