INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HEALTH SERVICES EXECUTIVE NORTH EAST
- AND -
IRISH NURSES ORGANISATION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Disturbance compensation for staff working in Monaghan General Hospital
2. The dispute before the Court relates to a claim by the Union for disturbance compensation, in the form of two days additional annual leave, for ten Nurses employed in the Outpatients and Emergency Departments and the Treatment Room at Monaghan General Hospital. The dispute arises as a result of building work, which commenced in these areas in October 2004, and was completed in July 2005. The Union contends that during this period of severe disruption, it’s members continued to provide a full Emergency and Out-Patients Department service within the hospital.
- The Health Service Executive (HSE) North East Area rejects the claim on the basis that this was a minor building project, undertaken to replace the old treatment room so that an improved quality of service provision for patients and an enhanced working environment for staff could be provided. Disruption or inconvenience caused to staff was minimal.
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 15th November, 2005, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 1st June, 2006.
3. 1. The building work had a severe impact upon the working lives of staff who had to endure severe disruption, decreased access, persistent noise, dust and disturbance. While enduring these difficulties, the nursing staff ensured that services were not affected and that all patients continued to receive full care and attention.
2. The staff have demonstrated loyalty to the Hospital in accommodating and maintaining normal Hospital functions during the works and the Union, on behalf of its members, is seeking a goodwill gesture of additional Annual Leave.
HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE'S ARGUMENTS:
4. 1. This was a minor building project and disruption or inconvenience caused to staff was minimal. Throughout the entire building project, there was no cancellation of services, nor did services have to be relocated. Stringent health and safety precautions ensured that staff were not exposed to dust etc. It is accepted that there was a certain amount of noise at different periods, there is no question of sustained noise.
2. Service modernisation and flexibility are an integral part of the social partnership agreement Sustaining Progress, an agreement signed up to by the Unions. Claims of this nature are precluded under Section 19.6 of Sustaining Progress. The Claimant's have received payment under Benchmarking and Sustaining Progress and therefore have been paid for their co-operation.
The Union sought compensation of two extra days annual leave, on behalf of 10 nurses, due to the level of disturbance caused during the building work which took place within the Treatment Room and Out-Patients Department of Monaghan General Hospital, from October, 2004 to August, 2005.
Having considered the oral and written submissions of the parties, the Court is not satisfied that the level of disruption involved was such as to warrant an element of compensation. Moreover, the Court is of the view that the co-operation given by the nurses during the work can be considered as consistent with the modernisation and flexibility agenda contained in Sustaining Progress and the Report of the Public Service Benchmarking Body. Therefore, the Court does not recommend concession of the Union's claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Joanne O'Connor, Court Secretary.