INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
IRISH BLOOD TRANSFUSION SERVICE
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr Shanahan
1. Changes In Work Practices
2. This case concerns a dispute between the Company and Union in relation to proposed changes to terms and conditions of employment of the Supplies Officer grade. Specifically for Night Supplies Officers the parties are in dispute in relation to a) Permanent evening/ nights Allowance, b) On Call Allowance and c) Saturday Premium. For Day Supplies Officers, the Union is seeking the payment of the on call allowance that is paid to Night Supplies Officers. The dispute was not resolved at local level and was the subject of a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached the matter was referred to the Labour Court on 16th February 2015 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 31st March 2015.
Night Supplies Officers:
3 1 Permanent Evenings/ Nights Allowance: The workers currently receive a pensionable allowance of 20.84% for the requirement to work permanent evenings/nights. This represents a significant portion of their earnings and the Union is seeking that it be retained when the Supplies Officer grade changes to rotating between day and night shifts.
2 On call allowance: This pensionable allowance is paid to the Nights Supplies Officers as they are continually on call during their breaks. The workers contend that breaks are constantly interrupted to deal with emergency calls and the allowance is paid in recognition of this. The Union is seeking that the payment of this allowance be retained.
3 Saturday Premium: The Supplies Officers currently receive a premium for working on Saturdays. The Union is seeking that this allowance be retained as it forms part of the workers established and agreed levels of earnings.
Day Supplies Officers:
4 On call allowance: This allowance is paid to Night Supplies Officers as outlined above. In circumstances where Day Supplies Officers will now be rostered between days and nights the Union is seeking that this allowance be paid to this group of workers also.
Night Supplies Officers:
4 1 Permanent Evenings/ Nights Allowance: Management intends to eliminate the payment of this allowance as there will no longer be a requirement to work permanent evenings/nights. Instead when a Supplies Officer is required to work 8pm to 8am Monday to Friday a premium of time plus one quarter will be paid as applies across other grades.
2 On Call Allowance: The payment of this allowance will no longer be required as the new rostering system will greatly reduce the need for staff to be on call/ available during their break periods.
3 Saturday Premium: In addition to the premium payments that will be paid from 8pm to 8am Monday to Friday any work carried out at weekends will also attract a premium payment as applies across other grades.
Day Supplies Officers:
4 On call allowance: Management intends to eliminate the requirement for Supplies Officers to be on call/ available during break periods. Hence it is inappropriate to consider the payment of an allowance for a task which there will no longer be a need for. In addition it is a cost increasing claim and as such is precluded by the terms of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2016 (Haddington Road Agreement)
The Court notes that it is agreed between the parties that this dispute has come before it under the terms of theClause 5.1 of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2016 (Haddington Road Agreement)and the Decision of the Court is binding on the parties.
The issue before the Court concerns changes in work practices for the Supplies Officer Grade as part of the organisation’s overall restructuring plan to improve the service. The plan has already been accepted and agreed by the Medical Scientist and Laboratory Aides Grades. There are currently two Night Supplies Officers working permanent evenings/nights and four Day Supplies Officers.
While substantial progress has been made on the plan in respect of the Supplies Officer Grades, there are a number of outstanding issues to be addressed. Having considered the submissions of both parties the Court issues the following recommendation in respect of the remaining issues in dispute:-
Night Supplies Officers
- Permanent Evenings/Nights Allowance
The Court notes that the requirement to work permanent evenings/nights will cease and in such circumstances it is proposed to replace the allowance with premium payments for the requirement to work rotational shifts. In these circumstances the Court accepts that the elimination of the allowances is justified and recommends that the compensation formula as outlined in accordance with the Haddington Road Agreement Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Circular DPE99/001/15“Agreed Formula for Buyout of Pensionability of Allowances”should be applied.
- On-Call Allowance
Management proposed to eliminate this Allowance stating that as a result of the planned changes it is estimated that 84% of business will be conducted between the hours 8.00am to 8.00pm and therefore the requirement to be on-call during breaks will significantly reduce. Furthermore, it gave an assurance to the Union that it would address the issue of breaks to ensure that Night Supplies Officers receive their appropriate breaks.
In line with principles of the Haddington Road Agreement, where the requirement for those in receipt of a pensionable allowance paid for performing certain duties has ceased, a compensation formula will apply. In this case, while it would appear that the requirement will reduce greatly, there is no certainty at this point and therefore the Court recommends that the Allowance should continue to be paid on a pro-rata basis to Night Supplies Officers until the new roster arrangements are in place; breaks periods are formalised and the requirement for on-call during breaks has been eliminated, at which point the Court recommends that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Circular DPE99/001/15 should apply.
- Saturday Premium
The Union sought the retention of a Saturday premium for working on a Saturday. This is not a pensionable payment. Management stated that this premium will be replaced by a premium payment of T+50% for the first four hours on Saturday and T+100% thereafter.
The Court recommends that in the event of a loss in earnings arising for working on a Saturday, the compensation formula agreed under the auspices of the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 (the Croke Park Agreement) should apply.
Day Supplies Officers
- On-Call Allowance
The Court is prohibited under the Haddington Road Agreement from recommending a cost-increasing claim. In any event the Court sees no merit in the claim in circumstances where the requirement for such an allowance will cease to exist.
Issues Not in Dispute
The Court notes that an agreement exists between the parties that in the event of losses arising from the loss of overtime earnings such losses will be compensated for in accordance with the Croke Park formula. There is no dispute that on finalisation of agreement on the plan the Supplies Officer Grade will cease to exist; the incumbents will retain their rate of pay on a red circled basis; the Grade will be eliminated through natural attrition and will be replaced by the Laboratory Aide Grade. Finally, on completion of agreement on the plan, it is agreed that a productivity payment in line with that agreed for Laboratory Aides will be paid to the Supplies Officers who are party to this claim.
The Court makes the above Recommendation on the basis that it is accepted as a composite package in full and final settlement of all matters in dispute.
The Court so Decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th April 2015______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.