ADJUDICATION OFFICER RECOMMENDATION
Adjudication Decision Reference: ADJ-00001117
Complaint(s)/Dispute(s) for Resolution:
Complaint/Dispute Reference No.
Date of Receipt
Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1946
Date of Adjudication Hearing: 14/03/2016
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Emile Daly
In accordance with Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 following the referral of the complaint(s)/dispute(s) to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaint(s)/dispute(s) and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaint(s)/dispute(s).
Complainant’s Submission and Presentation:
I have been rostered as a paramedic for the past three and a half years. I have recently been re-assigned as unrostered and replaced by a person transferred into that post who: a) does not have the required 4 years operational experience and b) had not been selected through the normal recruitment. I lodged a grievance in relation to this and was not offered a hearing at any stage. I was informed having reviewed the contents of my grievance that it was not legitimate. At no stage was the contents of my grievance reviewed.
The complainant submitted the following at hearing:
He qualified as a ambulance paramedic in 2005 and has worked in this capacity for the Respondent for 11 years. For the last 6 years has been based in a station in the midlands, the last four shadowing a position that had become vacant. The shadow positions are described as non permanent/ unrostered in that while he is based usually in a station in one midlandslocation, the Complainant’s base is not described as being attached to that station in the way a permanent employee would be. As such his base of work can change.
The Complainant is the sole carer of his elderly mother. He is involved in a number of volunteer community groups where he lives and has many on going responsibility to those organisations.
In October 2015 the Complainant invoked the Respondent grievance procedure in relation to the following complaint:
The custom and practice for promotion was that once a person joined the ambulance service, they were expected to shadow a position, in an unrostered capacity, for a period of time and then they became permanently rostered.
The complainant has been shadowing a position in a station in the midlands for four years. Until 2015 there were 3 vacant positions in this station. He sought for his position to be made permanent. However in mid 2015, another worker, who had been based in the control room in another station was appointed in a permanent capacity to the station where he was usually based, thereby reducing the vacant posts to 2.
He was told by e mail letter dated 9 March 2016, that all unrostered staff will now be rotated around different stations. This means that any claim that he might have for a permanent position in the midlands station where he usually worked, through his tenure there, would be wasted.
The complainant believes that if he has no permanent post, he could be requested to change his base on a constantly changing basis and that this request would only require 24 hours notice. He claims that this is a breach of his family life and his personal commitments insofar as he is the sole carer for his elderly mother. He says that this impermanence of his base, does not permit him to make any plans to give effect to his private and significant responsibilities at home.
The Complainant submitted that the custom and practice in other HSE regions is different to the midlands and the northwest. In the midlands, paramedics are left working on a non permanent basis for many years. However in Dublin a paramedic would be expected to work a vacant line for 1 to 2 years. After that their position becomes regularised and their work location is identified. He submitted that it is impossible to make plans in terms of where to live when this impermanence of the place of work continues.
The difficulties caused to the Complainant are that if he has to bring his mother to a hospital appointment but is called upon with 24 hours notice to travel to a different station, he is forced into having to take a day of annual leave. This is in breach of his right to private life.
The complainant raised a complaint under the Respondent grievance procedure but was informed by letter dated 22 October 2015 that the Operations Resource Manager did not accept that the complaint was a legitimate grievance and the Complainant “would not be hearing a stage one grievance.”
The Complainant does not object to the employee from the control room in another midlands station getting a permanent post in the station where he usually worked, but he believes that he too should be entitled to a permanent position, after 11 years in the service and 4 years shadowing a vacant line in one station.
Respondent’s Submission and Presentation:
Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act 1969 requires that I make a recommendation in relation to the complaint(s)/dispute(s)
Issues for Decision:
Whether the complainant should receive a permanent rostered post in the station where he usually works. For the sake of clarity this station is the one where he seeks to be made permanent.
Legislation involved and requirements of legislation:
Industrial Relations Act 1969
Based on the uncontested evidence of the Complainant and in light of his claim that his right to a private life have been undermined by his employment persisting on an impermanent / unrostered basis, I find this complaint to be well founded. I recommend that the Complainant be made permanent and rostered in the station, where he is usually based, in the role that he has held there to date, within a period of six months from the issue of this recommendation.
I am disappointed and surprised by the non-attendance of the Respondent at this hearing. Like the Workplace Relations Commission, the Respondent, is an emanation of the State, with important statutory functions. To fail to appear or to provide an explanation or even to contact the WRC to inform the office that they would not be appearing, is a cavalier approach to adopt and this is regrettable.
Dated: 27 July 2016