INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
NATIONAL INCORPORATED ORTHOPAEDIC HOSPITAL OF IRELAND
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH NURSES ORGANISATION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal Against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-048842-Ir-06/Jt
2. The Workers concerned are employed by the Incorporated Orthopaedic Hospital (IOH) at Clinical Nurse Manager 2 level. The Union's claim is to have these workers re-graded to the level of Assistant Director of Nursing because of the duties they carry out. The Union argues that the workers are the permanent Night Duty Managers at the hospital, managing the staff and welfare of the patients without reference to any Senior Manager during Night Duty shift hours. During Day Duty hours, the hospital is managed by a Director of Nursing assisted by an Assistant Director of Nursing. The Union contends that the differences between the job descriptions are quite negligible and the professional responsibilities are almost identical. The IOH rejects these claims. The position of the hospital is that the existing Night Duty structure is adequate for the size and function of the hospital and there is no necessity for the Assistant Director of Nursing Grade on Night Duty.
The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On the 2nd November, 2007 the Rights Commissioner issued his recommendation as follows:
"I believe that the Assistant Director of Nursing has significant duties and responsibilities which do not pertain to the claimant. I accept that the claimant has duties as a night sister which are not comparable with those of an Assistant Director of Nursing. I have noted that the respondent did state that there was an expansion programme being put in place by the respondent. I recommend that when the expansion is taking place the claimants and respondent should reconsider the situation."
On 10th December, 2007 the Union appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 27th February, 2008.
3. 1 The current grading of night sisters at the level of Clinical Nurse Manager Level 2 is inconsistent with the grading structure of nursing recommended by the Report of the Commission on Nursing.
2 The claimants have effective control, delegated from the Director of Nursing, for the Management of all matters pertaining to the operation of the hospital during Night Shift hours whether these relate to personnel, patients or the facility itself.
3 The arguments raised against this claim such as activity levels on Night Duty and the size of the hospital, do not do justice to the level of responsibility which is carried by persons such as the claimants in this case.
4. 1 The claimants are correctly graded and the existing Night Duty structure is adequate for the size and function of the IOH. The hospital is a Band 4 hospital with non-acute patients, significantly reduced activity at night and reduced staffing levels.
2 The claimants do not perform the duties of the Assistant Director of Nursing, nor indeed do they merit a Clinical Nurse Manager 3 grade at present, as their duties, given the nature of the hospital, do not reflect the duties of same.
3 If the claim before the Court succeeds it would involve leapfrogging a layer of management and would also undermine the Director of Nursing and Assistant Director of Nursing given the complexity of the strategic and operational role that they perform.
The Union on behalf of the Appellants appealed the Rights Commissioner's recommendation, which found against their claim to be upgraded to Assistant Director of Nursing (ADON) level. The Appellants are currently graded at Clinical Nurse Manager II (CNM II) level. The Union contended that their duties and responsibilities in their role as permanent Night Duty Managers accord with those of the ADON grade and consequently they should be upgraded. Furthermore, it referred to the Commission on Nursing Report, 1998 which provided for the role of Nursing Managers in smaller Hospitals.
Management at the Hospital disputed the Union’s contentions, it stated that the Hospital is a Band 4 hospital and while the nurses have responsibility for the running of the hospital at night, this is a delegated responsibility - the CEO, Director of Nursing and two ADON’s are available in the event of any difficulties arising at night. It stated that the activity levels at night compared to the day do not warrant a person at ADON level. Furthermore, it maintained that the duties and responsibilities of the Appellants are not similar to the duties and responsibilities required of ADON grade.
Having given careful consideration to the submissions of both sides and examined the details regarding the level of duties and responsibilities at night, and having examined the Commission on Nursing Report, 1998, the Court does not uphold the Appellant’s appeal to be upgraded to ADON level. The Court is of the view that such an upgrading is not warranted at this time. Therefore, the Court rejects the appeal and upholds the Rights Commissioner’s Recommendation.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
13th March, 2008______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to David P Noonan, Court Secretary.