INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Introduction of a new Grade.
2. This case concerns a dispute between IMPACT and Galway Association in relation to the proposed introduction of a care assistant grade to work with the existing grade of house parent and assistant houseparent. In 2001 a national agreement provided for the professionalisation of the sector whereby existing staff with relevant qualifications and given the appropriate training could be regraded and placed in relevant positions within the organisation.
The Union's position is that no agreement was reached in relation to the recruitment of care assistants. It is also the Union's position that by recruiting care assistants, management will assign duties to the care assistants which are currently carried out by existing grades within the association. This will inevitably lead to a reduction in grades currently in operation.
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 15th June 2006 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labor Court hearing took place on 4th October 2006.
3. 1. The introduction of care assistants wil result in lower paid workers carrying out tasks of existing grades and an inevitable reduction in grades currently employed by the association. It is unacceptable that the association advertises positions that are not agreed with the Union
2. The role of care worker had been previously agreed by IMPACT and HSEA following the report of the joint committee on social care professionals. There were no discussions or agreement concerning the introduction of care assistants.
4 1. The introduction of the care assistant grade will not negatively impact on grades currently operating in the association. The care assistant gradewill work alongside and in conjunction with existing grades.
2.The introduction of the care assistant grade is essential for the association to provide an adequate service to its users. This forms part of the modernisation and flexibility agenda provided for in national wage agreements.
The Court recommends that the process agreed involving mediation / facilitation should be reactivated with a view to agreeing a basis upon which the grade of care assistant can be introduced.
The process should commence within one month following acceptance of this recommendation and should conclude within a period of three months. If agreement is not reached outstanding matters should be referred back to the Court.
In the interim, and in the interests of maintaining harmony, the recruitment of care assistants should not proceed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd October 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.