INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE WEST
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH NURSES ORGANISATION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-040802-IR-06/TB.
2. The Worker concerned is a registered general nurse educated to Masters level (MA Healthcare Management). In November 2003 she successfully applied for the post of Accreditation Coordinator for Sligo General Hospital. The appointment was made in November 2004. The same process saw the appointment of an Accreditation Coordinator at Letterkenny General Hospital. Both accreditation coordinators have the same job description. The Worker retained her salary at CNM2 level.
The post holder in Letterkenny was subsequently regraded to a Grade VIII. The Worker concerned in this claim then lodged a claim in respect of same but this was rejected on the basis that her comparator in Letterkenny had some additional duties.
The issue was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. His recommendation issued on the 24th November 2006 as follows:-
"Taking all the factors into consideration I recommend that the claimant be regraded to Grade 8 with effect from the 1st April 2006.
Management appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 28th December, 2006, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 13th July, 2007, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. The Worker accepted the position offered to her for a period of two years. She retained her salary as a CNM 2 for this period exactly as stated in the advertisement. This is the contract the Worker has with the HSE and it can only be changed by agreement with both sides.
2. The post holder in Letterkenny also had a remit for Quality in addition to the Accreditation brief for the hospital. She was also on a higher salary prior to taking up the Accreditation post. Her salary together with relevant allowances were aligned to that of Grade 8.
3. The HSE position is that it is agreeable to a detailed job evaluation of this post in Sligo General by an agreed external evaluator
4. 1. There are 11 Band 1 hospitals in the country. Of these, 10, including Letterkenny have an accreditation coordinator or equivalent remunerated at Grade 8. The only one that does not is Sligo General.
2. The Worker has readily accepted additional roles and responsibilities in line with service needs. Her current job title is Accreditation/Quality Coordinator.
3. The job description of the Worker is the same as that for the post holders in Letterkenny, Mater, Blanchardstown and Cork hospitals. These are all remunerated at Grade 8.
The dispute before the Court concerned an appeal by HSE West against a Rights Commissioner’s Recommendation, which found that the Employee should be regraded from Grade 6 to Grade 8, with effect from 1st April 2006.
HSE West appealed on three grounds :
(i) it was agreed as part of her contract when the Employee accepted the position as Accreditation Co-ordinator in Sligo Regional Hospital that she would be at Grade 6 level;
(ii) the Accreditation Co-ordinator in Letterkenny Hospital graded at Grade 8, (with whom she compares herself) had a wider brief, and
(iii)the grading of this post varies considerably throughout the health services.In order to rectify the situation for the Employee and particularly in light of the wider brief recently undertaken by the Employee, HSE Westsought to have a job evaluation exercise carried out.
The Union held the view that the Employee was incorrectly graded at Grade 6 and should have been at Grade 8, similar to most other Band 1 hospitals in the health service. Furthermore, she has recently taken over the “Quality” remit, similar to the post in Letterkenny.
Having considered the matter, the Court is of the view that it is necessary in the circumstances for a job evaluation to be conducted to determine the appropriate grade for the position. Therefore, the Court recommends that both parties should agree on an external evaluator to carry out a job evaluation exercise into the job currently carried out by the Employee to determine the appropriate Grade. This exercise must be complete by 31st October 2007 at the latest, if not completed by this date then the parties may refer the issue back to the Court for a definitive recommendation.
Therefore, the Court overturns the Rights Commissioner’s Recommendation and the appeal succeeds.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th August, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.