INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
IRISH MEDICAL ORGANISATION
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Disturbance / re-location payment.
2. The newly completed Cork University Maternity Hospital is due to open in March, 2007, resulting in the closure of two Cork City Maternity hospitals - St. Finbarr's and Erinville which are approximately 3 miles and 1.5 miles distance from the new Hospital. The Unions' claim is for a disturbance / re-location payment for what they see as major change and upset for all the workers affected. The HSE South has rejected the claim, seeing it as normal ongoing change.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place. At it the HSE South offered one additional day's leave on a once-off basis to all staff concerned with the move. The Unions rejected the offer. As the parties could not reach agreement, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 14th of November, 2006, in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 17th of January, 2007.
3. 1. There have been numerous examples of compensation being paid for relocation / disturbance for distances of less than a mile / 0 miles, (the Unions gave as examples - Southern Health Board Cork / Kerry in 2000, Irish Rail in 1999, Eastern Health Board in 2001 among others).
2. The move will greatly inconvenience the workers concerned particularly with additional travel time involved for those who have to go through Cork City. Many of the workers have been employed for a lifetime in the two hospitals. There is also the worry / uncertainty of new working arrangements, rosters, outsourcing, parking etc.
HSE SOUTH'S ARGUMENTS:
4. 1. In keeping with National Agreements Management sought early engagement with the Unions to ensure the smooth transition to the new Hospital, including the services of an external Facilitator.
2. The move, apart from offering a state-of-the-art new Hospital, will also offer career development opportunities. All appropriate support and training required by staff will be provided.
3. There have been a number of service re-locations within the Cork / Kerry area in recent years and no disturbance / relocation payments were made (details supplied to the Court). The Unions' claim is cost increasing and precluded under the National Agreements.
It appears to the Court that, in part at least, the Unions' claim is for the application of the Castlerea formula to a group of workers employed in the general health service. The Court has consistently held that the terms of that formula are confined in their application to the psychiatric service and cannot be extended. The Court has no reason to take a different position in this case.
In the present case, the Court does not accept that the level of disruption likely to arise from the disputed transfer is such as to warrant compensation at the level claimed. The Court is of the view that the proposals of management are reasonable in the circumstances and should be accepted. In line with practice elsewhere, the Court further recommends that staff affected should be given an additional day's leave, on a once-off basis in the leave year 2007-2008.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.