INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE EMPLOYERS
(REPRESENTED BY THE HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE EMPLOYERS AGENCY)
- AND -
IRISH NURSES ORGANISATION
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
IRISH MUNICIPAL PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
PSYCHIATRIC NURSES ASSOCIATION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Application of allowances to grades above Clinical Nurse Manager I1.
2. The issue in dispute was previously the subject of a Labour Court investigation and recommendation. In LCR17887 the Court recommended as follows:
"The claim is based on what the Unions regard as an anomaly in the scale applicable to the CNM 3 grade relative to that of CNM 2 when combined with the allowance. The Unions contend that if this anomaly were to be corrected by the extension of the allowances to CNM3 a further anomaly would arise as between the pay of that grade and the grade of Assistant Director of Nursing. On this basis the Union's claim is for the application of Specialist Qualification Allowance / Location Allowance to grades above CNM 2.
The Management have indicated a willingness to address the claim in so far as it applies to CNM 3 but only on the understanding that consequential claims will not be pursued in respect of higher grades.
The Court accepts that there may be a difficulty with the current pay structure as it applies to the CNM 3 grade and certain Assistant Director of Nursing posts in the non band one hospitals. However, the Court does not accept that concession of the Unions' claim would be the appropriate response to those difficulties. In particular, the Court can see no justification for the inclusion of those at Assistant Director of Nursing at band one hospitals, or their equivalent in other hospitals, in the claim having regard to the salary maximum currently applicable to those posts.
The parties should now resume negotiations at conciliation with a view to identifying the extent of any pay anomalies between the relevant grades. They should then seek to apply a suitable solution to the problem as identified having regard to the terms of current national agreements.
Should the matter remain unresolved it may be referred back to the Court......".
Subsequently the parties entered discussions under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. Two conciliation conferences were held in August and November, 2004 but agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 19th April, 2005 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held on the 6th July, 2005.
3. 1. It is reasonable and legitimate that a worker would receive an increase on promotion. This is not the case for many promoted to either CNM 3 or Assistant Directors of Nursing (ADON). Even now with the benefit of Mark Time, which only prevents a no loss situation, and the Benchmarking awards which produced different increases for some of the grades involved, there are still some workers who receive no increases and others for whom the increase is only marginal on promotion. This is unacceptable in terms of making it an attractive option, particularly for nurses who are often required to take up day work on promotion, with consequential drop in earnings through the loss of their premium pay.
2. The health service has taken a view on what is the appropriate level of increase that one should expect in their first year of promotion. Under the terms of Circular 152/2000 the therapy professions will get €6,758 per annum on their first year of promotion. Even with the application of the allowances, as sought in this claim, the rate of increase for CNM 2 for promotion to either CNM 3 or non Band 1 ADON would be less than that. To have such a disparity between the promotion for therapeutic grades and promotion for nursing manager grades is wholly unjustified.
3. Following the referral back to conciliation the Unions effectively reduced the numbers of workers who could benefit from the claim by more than half in an effort to reach an agreement which consolidated the offer which had been made to CNM 3s and confine the knock-on affect of it to the grade of Assistant Director in non Band 1 hospitals who would be rendered lower paid than the CNM 3 who reported to them.
4. The amount of money involved in promotion to either CNM 3 or ADON for a CNM 2 with their specialist allowance is such as to make it an unattractive proposition, particularly when reverting to day work. The original position of offering to address this situation in relation to CNM 3s was a recognition of this fact and it would be illogical not to apply the same weight to the disadvantage of promotion to the next higher grade, that of ADON. The Unions do not believe that the Court expected it to hand back the offer which had been made in respect of CNM 3s in going back to conciliation. The Unions believe the Court expected them to show a significant compromise which has been given. The Unions now request the Court to recommend the employers apply Location and Specialist Qualification Allowances to the grades of CNM 3 and non Band 1 ADON.
4. 1. This claim will impact on twelve grades in addition to CNM 3 (details supplied to the Court). It will involve over 1,500 nurses assessing either specialist or location allowances in an attempt to address a differential issue. The total cost of the claim is €3.728 million per annum.
2. Management's offer to address the claim in so far as it applies to CNM3s was in the context of pre Benchmarking. The Benchmarking Body has addressed the issue of pay differentials. From 1997 to the completion of the Benchmarking /Sustaining Progress salary recommendations there is an increase in the pay differential between CNM 2 and CNM 3 from €179 to €5,523 at maximum of scale. A similar trend is in evidence in respect of CNM 2 and ADON non Band 1 where the differential increases from €634 to €6,544.
3. The terms of reference for the Benchmarking 11 process are being agreed by Public Sector Employers and Public Service Unions. The pay of the various nursing grades will be examined by the Body and it is open to the nursing unions to make submissions to the Body on this issue, when it begins its work later this year. The process begun by the Benchmarking Body has delivered the significant increases in basic pay and increased differential sought by the Unions in their benchmarking submissions.
4. The Mark Time Scheme introduced in the health service in February, 2001 was specifically addressed to the CNM 2 grade and potential loss of earnings on promotion to CNM3. The scheme addressed a situation where a nurse becomes financially disadvantaged under existing pay on promotion arrangements. The scheme will overcome a loss of earnings situation, which may occur, particularly in the area of allowances, which do not travel above CNM 2. The Mark Time Scheme allows a nurse on promotion to retain his/her basic salary plus pensionable allowances, to protect against a loss in basic pay. It applies where a nurse may be financially disadvantaged. It ensures no nurse is at a loss on promotion and provides existing pay on promotion arrangements of nearest point plus one increment to ensure no nurse is at a loss on promotion. This Mark Time Scheme was specifically introduced to address the CNM 2 / CNM 3 allowance "anomaly". It was introduced at the behest of the nursing unions and with the support of employers.
5. The claim is cost increasing and is precluded under Section 19.6 of Sustaining Progress.
The Court considered the written and oral submissions of the parties.
Promotion would normally improve a successful candidate's salary by at least one increment and movement to an improved pay scale.
Because of the anomalous position of CNM 2s who hold allowances, promotions can lead to a loss of allowance and a point on the new scale close to their current salary or even less. Such cases should receive special attention and a personal to holder rate should be paid which is at least equivalent to normal promotional practice i.e. at least one increment on an improved pay scale.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th January, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.