INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE - EMPLOYERS AGENCY
- AND -
MEDICAL LABORATORY SCIENTISTS ASSOCIATION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Student training Co-ordinator allowance.
2. The dispute relates to the implementation of the Student training Co-ordinator Allowance (the allowance)as per the report of the Expert Group on Medical Laboratory Technical / Technologist Grades (the Report).
As part of their academic programme Undergraduate Student Medical Scientists have a clinical placement in hospital laboratories which are designated as suitable for training purposes by three Institutes of Technology i.e. Dublin, Cork and Galway / Mayo. The Union claims that the Report stated that the Medical Scientists who co-ordinate the training of these students should be paid a stated allowance. Following lengthy negotiations the Union believed it had an understanding with the HSE-EA as to the number of Co-ordinators per hospital laboratory and the allowance payable. The HSE denies that any such agreement was reached. In April, 2006, the HSE informed the Union that the HSE National Hospitals Office (NHO) would have to approve the "agreement" and, in the event, this was not forthcoming.
The employer's position favours a methodology of implementation whereby all Medical Scientists involved in training students should benefit in a way similar to that which was introduced for Therapy Professionals (this refers to another report by the Expert Group in April, 2000, on a group which included Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Dieticians). The Union wants only the Co-ordinators to receive the allowance, currently valued at €3,146.18 per annum, whereas management's proposal would see all those involved in training students receiving €250 per annum (pro-rata for part-time workers).
The Union referred the case to the Labour Court on the 3rd of January, 2007, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 5th of April, 2007. The Union agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation.
2. 1. Student Medical Scientists are trained in five main departments in Pathology (details supplied to the Court). Because of the totally different scientific aspect of each of the departments there is an obvious need, as recognised by the Expert Group, for a Student Training Co-ordinator in each department. The Union is seeking the implementation of the allowance as per the original agreement between the MSLA and the HSE-EA.
3. 1. Management believes that the reports of the Export Groups were broadly similar. It believes that its proposal is fairer and more equitable in that it benefits a significantly greater number of staff than the Union's position. The proposal recognises the input of all staff in the training of students.
2. Payment to Co-ordinators only, as per the Union's wish, could result in the remaining staff being reluctant to fully participate in the very necessary task of providing advise and guidance to the students.
The Court has considered the Union’s claim for implementation of the Report of the Expert Group on Medical Laboratory Technician/Technologist Grades as it applies to the issue of the Student Training Co-ordinator Allowance.
The report recommended:
- “The Expert Group recommends that Medical Scientists who take responsibility for overseeing and co-ordinating the rotation and training programmes of Student Medical Scientist within a department, should be paid an allowance of £1800, subject to appropriate adjustment in respect to later salary increases.”
The dispute relates to the methodology of implementing this allowance. The Union seeks to have it implemented as provided for in the Expert Group report, i.e. the allowance should be paid to the nominated Co-ordinators, whereas the HSE seeks to have it implemented on a shared basis between all Medical Scientists who work in a department that participates in the clinical placement of undergraduate students during their period of practical tuition. The employer's preferred method is similar to that agreed for the therapy professionals, where it was agreed, with a different Union, to pay an allowance of €250 per annum (pro rata for part time employees).
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court supports the Union’s position that the Student Training Co-ordinator Allowance should be implemented as provided for in Expert Group's Report.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd April, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.