INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
LEOPARDSTOWN PARK HOSPITAL
IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Alleged Breach Of Agreement
2. The dispute before the Court concerns the alleged breach of an agreement regarding Catering staff in the Company. Following a review of catering services, concerns were raised over the necessary staffing levels. An investigative review was commissioned in 2004 and a report was issued. Local discussions took place between the Company and Union with regard to the implementations of the report. Agreement could not be reached and the issue was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. Following discussions at a conciliation conference in August 2006, agreement was reached. It is the Unions claim that the agreement allows for 5.5 posts including a floater post in the kitchen. The Company contends that the floater post was to be used as necessary in the catering service.
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 could not be reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 26th April, 2007 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 8th August, 2007.
3. 1 The Union's understanding is that the kitchen roster would show 5.5 persons including the floater post. To show any less would not allow for emergencies and would result in undue hardship and difficulty in complying with the full cleaning schedules for the area for the remainder of the staff.Agreement was reached on the floater post for use to cover emergencies in the kitchen area.
2 The Company's maintain that 4.5 posts should include the floater post. This would create problems and cause compulsory overtime as it means a lengthening of shifts. It also results in more agency staff being used as cover.
4. 1 It is the Company's position that following on from the original review in 2004 and the agreement reached at the first Conciliation conference in August 2006, it has implemented all arrangements regarding staffing levels outlined in this agreement.
2 There is a fully adequate staffing level in place. There has been no incidents or situations recorded whereby a staffing level deficiency had become apparent. Should an unusual or emergency situation occur, the Company has committed to engage the services of agency staff.
The case before the Court concerns an alleged breach of an agreement reached in August 2006 between the parties. The Union claimed that the agreement allows for 5.5 posts including a floater post to be rostered in the Hospital kitchen. It pointed out to the Court that difficulties arise during staff absences in excess of three days, as the roster only allow for 4.5 posts and the floater are rostered to work elsewhere. In such circumstances the kitchen staff are under pressure and consequently may be required to work longer rosters. Management disputed this contention stating that the Kitchen staffing levels are adequate and in line with the agreement. It stated that the Hospital is committed to engage the services of agency staff, in the event of unusual or emergency situations.
Having considered the points raised by both parties, the Court is of the view that the operation of the agreement causes difficulties on those occasions when a member(s) of the staff is/are out for periods in excess of three days. Therefore, the Court recommends that the agreement should be amended to allow for cover to be provided in the event of Management having notice to staff absences in excess of three consecutive days. In such circumstances, the rosters of the staff involved should not be altered.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th August, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to David P Noonan, Court Secretary.