INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
BEAUMONT CONVALESCENT HOME
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH NURSES ORGANISATION
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
IRISH MUNICIPAL PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Benchmarking, Parallel Benchmarking and retrospection of wage increases due under Sustaining Progress
2. This case concerns a dispute between the Employer and the Unions in relation to the non-payment of increases due under Benchmarking and Parallel Benchmarking as well as retrospection of wage increases due under Sustaining Progress.
The claim concerns employees of McAuley House, a service which provides residential care for elderly members of the Sisters of Mercy Religious Order. Initially, Beaumont Convalescent Home also operated on the same site as a private nursing home run by the Order which was subsequently closed due to financial difficulties. The Unions' position is that the appropriate increases due under the Benchmarking processes and retrospective payments under Sustaining Progress be paid to its members on the basis of established pay links like HSE employees. Management's position is that it is unable to sustain the costs associated with the Benchmarking payments as it is not a publicly funded organisation. In relation to the restrospection issue, Management's position is that it has applied the increases but is unable to sustain the additional costs of the Unions' claims.
The dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of conciliation conferences under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached the matter was referred to the Labour Court on 24th October, 2006 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 18th January, 2007
3 1 The Claimants' pay rates are linked to those applicable to comparators employed in the Health Service. Increases negotiated at national level should therefore be applied to these Workers from the date the increases became due for payment.
2 It is unacceptable that cost of living increases be witheld from loyal and committed Workers. The organisation for which they work is financially capble of applying the increases from the due dates.
4 1 The organisation is not in a financial position to apply retrospective payments of increses due under Sustaining Progress. Previous financial difficulties were accepted by the Union in relation to an inability to pay increases due under Sustaining Progress.
2 The organisation is unable to sustain the costs of applying Benchmarking increases as it is not in receipt of public funding.
3 The claim is cost-increasing and precluded under the terms of Sustaining Progress
The Court has considered the submissions made and extra information provided by the parties.
The Employer has stated both within contracts of employment and in "General Information for Staff", that rates of pay are listed with the E.R.H.A pay scales, shall increase with those scales and that increases under National Wage Agreement are paid.
The Court notes that no claim of inability to pay under the appropriate clauses of "Sustaining Progress" or "Towards 2016" has been made by the Employer.
The Court recommends that:
(1) Benchmarking awards be applied to Nurses employed by the Home.
(2) Parallel Benchmarking awards be applied to other grades of staff employed by the Home.
(3) The stated links to HSE scales should continue.
(4) Retrospection due both under (1) and (2) above and in regard to increases under "Sustaining Progress" should be applied.
(5) The parties should meet to agree a schedule for the payment of monies due, bearing in mind the current capacity of the Employer to pay.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th March, 2007______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.