INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE (HSE)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. 1. Retrospection 2. Incremental Credit
2. The dispute before the Court concerns two claims. The first claim by the Unions is on behalf of Acting Community Welfare Officers (Acting CWO's) employed by the former Eastern Regional Health Authority, whom the Unions contend were refused payment at the CWO rate for the full period of acting up from their then substantive posts as Clerical Officers. The period in dispute is from 1993 to 1998. The Unions are seeking compensation by way of salary adjustments in line with CWO increments for the period they were acting up. The Health Authority rejects the claim on the basis that the Unions are seeking a revision of a 1998 local agreement with the former Eastern Health Board on incremental credit for Acting CWO's. This agreement provided for application of incremental credit and progression on the salary scale for Acting CWO's. The Unions are now seeking arrears of payments to be made in respect of acting service prior to August 1998.
- The second claim concerns Acting Superintendent Community Welfare Officers (Acting SCWO's) who have been in an acting up capacity for a number of years and have not progressed beyond the first incremental point of the Superintendent scale. The Unions are seeking increments to be paid which are consistent with the service points of the SCWO scale and in line with practice adopted by other Health Boards. The Health Service Executive rejects the claim and contends that it is contrary to the rules and practice on remuneration in the area.
- 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 26th January, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 11th January, 2006, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The claim for payment to the group working in an acting up capacity at CWO level during the years 1993 to 1998 is a once off payment. The periods of acting up were not casual or for limited periods. They were for periods of years and were to fill activity needs in service. They should be treated no less favourably than their colleagues in other former Health Board areas who have had this issue addressed, by local agreement, at the Labour Relations Commission and in one instance as a consequence of a Labour Court Recommendation (LCR17518).
2. The fact that CWO's acting up at Superintendent level do not progress beyond the first incremental point is both unfair and unjust and an abuse of the system. It exploits the willingness and commitment of individuals who seek advancement by continuing to reward them at the CWO rate with a small allowance while expecting to perform at Superintendent level for years at a time.They are not given incremental credit if they subsequently secure a permanent post at that level. This policy is not supported by any other Health Board.
4. 1. The Union's claim for arrears of incremental credit is a cost-increasing claim and in breach of the Paragraph 19.6 in Sustaining Progress on public service pay. There is no provision in the 1998 agreement for arrears payments. Any departure from the 1998 agreement in terms of arrears of payments in respect of acting up service will have serious knock-on effects on other incremental credit arrangements.
2. Concession of this claim would have far reaching cost implications. The claim is cost increasing and precluded under Sustaining Progress.
The Court has considered the submissions of the parties as well as the available previous history in this area. The Court recommends as follows:
Claim (i) Acting CWO's
It is the view of the Court that an anomaly exists with respect to this group's position vis-a-vis other analogous groups. Accordingly, the Court recommends that the Unions' claim be conceded in respect of the acting-up period from 1993 to the date on which the 1998 adjustment applied, as applicable to each individual. This Recommendation is unique to the Claimants and does not encompass any other or future situation.
Claim (ii) Acting Superintendent CWO's
The Court is satisfied that, in general, this situation has been addressed in the other former Health Board areas and, therefore, recommends on a non-precedential basis, the concession of this claim in respect of the individual claimants.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
6th February, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.