INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
ST JOHN OF GOD KERRY SERVICES LIMITED
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Foley
Employer Member: Ms Cryan
Worker Member: Ms Tanham
1. Change in Staff Roster.
2. This dispute concerns the Employer’s decision in January 2014 to seek a change to the rosters on site and to its subsequent decision to apply a new roster with effect from 2 May 2016. This dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of a Conciliation Conference under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on 5 May 2016 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990.
A Labour Court hearing took place on 9 May 2016.
UNION’S ARGUMENTS: (INMO)
3. 1. The new roster has not been risk assessed and will have negative consequences for the Employer’s clients. It will do nothing to improve the service.
2. The new roster contains an onerous 13.5 hour day and will have a negative impact on work/life balance of staff.
3. The Union are seeking the implementation of the terms of agreement reached between the INMO and management in 21 October 2015.
UNION'S ARGUMENTS: (SIPTU).
4. 1. Following a ballot of its members SIPTU has accepted the new roster which is now in operation since 2 May.
5. 1. The Employer has engaged in a lengthy and substantial consultation process with its staff through their respective Trade Unions lasting more than two years.
2. The new roster is a reasonable change in the context of changes in funding and service needs that the Employer faces. As part of the negotiation process with both Unions, the Employer has agreed to a review after a certain period in order to ensure that the new roster is achieving its objectives.
3. The new roster agreed to and accepted by SIPTU members of staff, including nursing staff, has been implemented with effect from 2 May 2016. From a total workforce of 168 employees 120 are currently working on the new roster.
The Court has given very careful consideration to the written and oral submissions of the parties.
The Court is aware that there has been engagement at local level in relation to the matter before the Court for a period of years. The Court is also aware that the parties have utilised procedures set down by the Public Service Agreement and availed of the services of the Workplace Relations Commission and an agreed Facilitator in their efforts to address the matter.
The Court must have regard to the fact that all parties have had very considerable opportunity and time to engage fully to consider and address any issues arising from Management’s proposals to change working arrangements in the service. In the outturn a situation has emerged whereby the Union representing 75% approx. of the staff, including some nursing staff, has reached an agreement with the employer and that has been implemented.
There is no rational or reasonable basis for the Court to overturn that agreement or to recommend its alteration. The employer has made it clear to the Court that no practical basis exists for the operation of separate rostering frameworks in the service for staff in membership of different Unions.
The Court must however give serious consideration to the concerns raised by the Union side. Those concerns as articulated to the Court related significantly to the quality of client care and the efficacy of the new roster arrangements in that regard. Issues related to the impact on the work/life balance of nursing staff were also emphasised.
In all of the circumstances therefore the Court recommends that the roster arrangement introduced on 2nd May 2016 should be implemented for all staff. Taking account in particular of the concerns raised by the Union side at the hearing of the Court the parties should jointly review the operation of the new arrangements two weeks from date of implementation in order to ensure that any initial issues are identified and resolved. Thereafter the operation of the new arrangements should be jointly reviewed at four weekly intervals and comprehensively reviewed after 13 weeks of operation and again after 26 weeks of operation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10 May 2016______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Neville, Court Secretary.