INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HSE (SOUTH EAST)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Application of Benchmarking increases to security allowance.
2. In August 1999 an agreement was reached between the HSE South East and its Orderly/Security personnel at Wexford General Hospital and St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny. This enabled the HSE to dispense with the services provided by an outside security firm. The agreement provided for the introduction of a 'security allowance' and it was agreed that the allowance would be index- linked and subject to review at the end of a six month period. The Union members did not seek to review the payments on the review dates as they believed that everything was all right.
The Union is now claiming that in addition to the usual national wage agreements, the Benchmarking award for support grades should be applied to the security allowance.
It is the opinion of the HSE that the new pay scales for Support Grades contained in the document Recognising and Respecting the Role-Development and Re-Structuring Agreement for support staff in the Health Service 2003 apply only to basic pay.
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 13th July, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 13th December, 2005.
3. 1. There has been no proper review since the implementation of the security/orderly allowance.
2. In December 2000 our members were paid Benchmarking on their basic wage and on their security allowance. Since then Benchmarking has not been applied to the security allowance.
4. 1. An audit of allowances is currently being undertaken.
2. To apply the Benchmarking award to the security allowance in the two Hospitals concerned would be contrary to the recommendation of the Implementation and Communication Protocol Committee on the re-structuring agreement for support grades and would have repercussions, not only in the South East Region, but in all areas of the Health Service Executive.
The agreement of 1999 by which the allowance at issue was introduced provided that it would be increased by reference to increases in basic pay. In line with this agreement the allowance was adjusted in 2000 by the application of the increase in the Health Board Analogue Agreement.
The Employer told the Court that an agreement concluded in 2003 between the HSE and the relevant Unions, including SIPTU, provided that allowances, such as that in issue, would be reviewed nationally and that pending the outcome of this review claims for increases in existing allowances would not be pursued. The Union does not accept that this agreement has the effect claimed by the Employer. It specifically rejects the suggestion that an understanding exists whereby its present claim should not be pursued.
The Court has not been provided with any documentation or other evidence which would indicate that the local agreement of 1999 was superseded or replaced by a subsequent inconsistent agreement. In these circumstances the Court accepts that the Union's claim has merit and recommends that it be conceded.
This Recommendation is made in the context of the facts of the present case and should not be regarded as having any precedent value or application in any other case.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th January, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.