INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
IRISH MUNICIPAL, PUBLIC AND CIVIL TRADE UNION
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Ms Cryan
Worker Member: Ms Tanham
1. Assault & Injury Leave Scheme.
2. This dispute concerns the Assault and Injury Scheme for staff employed at Oberstown Children’s Detention Centre. A number of detention centres amalgamated into one campus in 2009 and varying work practices between the schools were identified. One of these issues is a four-year rolling period for the Assault and Injury Scheme. This 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 was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on the 25th June 2015 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990.
A Labour Court hearing took place on the 19th August 2015.
3. 1. The amalgamation of the staff into this new complex includes the movement of existing employees to deliver the necessary services. Discussion took place with the Employer on the effects of this development in relation to the existing terms and conditions of staff.
2. A four-year rolling period was not part of the existing terms and conditions.
3. The inclusion of a four-year rolling period, where an employee is the victim of multiple or serious assaults, would penalise that employee which is wholly outside their control.
4. 1. It is in everyone’s interest that an employee assaulted and injured in the line of duty is afforded the optimal facility to recover without detriment, insofar as this is possible.
2. Management maintain that the current scheme has provided for a four-year rolling period since its inception.
3. Oberstown operates within the structures imposed by various public service agreements, most recently the Lansdowne Road Agreement.
The issue before the Court concerns the Assault and Injury Scheme for staff employed at Oberstown Children’s Detention Centre. A number of detention centres amalgamated into one campus in 2009. The Unions dispute the inclusion of a four year rolling period in the scheme, which they maintain is a new provision which did not form part of the previous schemes in place before management sought to harmonise terms and conditions of employment.
Having considered the written and oral submissions of both parties the Court is satisfied that it has been the practice to apply a rolling four year period and where an employee exhausts their benefits under the scheme within that period, management has exercised its discretion to determine whether or not to extend the scheme. This was utilised on a number of occasions in 2013 and an extension granted.
In the context of harmonisation of conditions of employment within the campus, management put forward proposals on an Assault and Injury Scheme to apply to all employees on campus and to bring resolution to the dispute before the Court. These proposals were outlined to the Unions in a letter dated 14thApril 2015 (set out at Appendix 6 of its submission to the Court). The offer includes a proposal to formally incorporate into the scheme its use of discretion in exceptional circumstances based on a number of criteria as outlined in the letter.
The Court endorses management’s proposal and accordingly recommends that the offer as outlined in management’s letter dated 14thApril 2015 should be accepted with the following amendments :-
- i.The scheme should include an appeal mechanism which may be exercised where an employee is denied an extension of benefit. (In the event that the parties require assistance in devising an appeal mechanism the Facilitator previously involved in harmonisation discussions should be called upon to assist the parties if necessary).
ii.The scheme should be reviewed after twelve months in operation.
The Court recommends that management’s proposals as amended to reflect the recommendations of the Court as outlined above should be accepted in full and final settlement of the issues before the Court.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st August, 2015Deputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran Roche, Court Secretary.