ADJUDICATION OFFICER DECISION
Adjudication Decision Reference: ADJ-00002757
Dispute 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 1969.
13th April 2016
Date of Adjudication Hearing: 4th August 2016
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Seán Reilly
In accordance with Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 and Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act 1969 and following the referral of the dispute to me by the Director General, I inquired into the dispute and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the dispute.
Attendance at Hearing:
A Psychiatric Nurse
A health service provider
SIPTU (Niall Phillips)
SIPTU was in dispute with the Respondent in relation to the Complainant’s pay grade.
Summary of Complainant’s Position:
I am a registered psychiatric nurse and I have been a Risk Manager across all of a named part of the Country Mental Health Services and PCCC since 2008. I am currently paid at the CNM3 rate of pay. I am the only Risk Manager in a 3 county area at present. It has come to my attention that a colleague carrying out the same role as me and employed by the Respondent in the adjoining area has recently been upgraded to a Clerical Officer Grade 8 position which at the top of the scale is remunerated at approximately €74,000 per annum compared to my pay of €66,000 per annum. I am seeking the WRC Adjudication Officer’s assistance to secure the equivalent pay of that of a Grade 8 Clerical Officer while retaining my status as a psychiatric nurse.
SIPTU said the Complainant believes that the Respondent has acted unfairly by not upgrading him to the post of Clerical Officer Grade 8. The Complainant carries out the very same role as his colleague in the adjoining area and yet she is paid at a Grade 8 compared to him at CNM2.
SIPTU said that it is most unfair that the Complainant continues to carry out the role of Quality Risk Manager while being less than his colleague doing the same work . The Trade Union said that the Complainant’s case has been supported by his local management.
SIPTU said the Complainant, if successful with his claim, wishes to retain his status as a psychiatric nurse/ mental health nurse as to lose that status could mean that instead of having the option of retiring at 55 years of age he may be obliged to remain at work until at least 65 years.
The Complainant and SIPTU sought a favourable decision.
Summary of Respondent’s Position:
The Respondent said that the Complainant’s claim for parity with his colleague is fully supported by management up the Assistant National Director level: however the claim is considered a cost increasing claim and as such it is prohibited by the Public Service Agreements (PSA’s).
The Respondent said that the position outlined in Circular 17/2013 also provides for claims for regularisation of long-term acting to be cost neutral.
The Assistant National Director of Human Resources provides a mechanism to facilitate evaluating the Complainant’s role under the Job Evaluation Scheme and this will be fully supported by management.
The Respondent said that the request by the Complainant to retain his status under the terms of Section 65 of the Mental Treatment Act would set a precedent for further claims from current and past employees and the cost of such a position is immeasurable.
The Respondent sought that their position be upheld.
Findings and Recommendation:
Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 requires that I make a decision in relation to the dispute in accordance with the relevant redress provisions under Schedule 6 of that Act.
Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act 1969 requires that I make a decision setting forth my opinion on the merits of the dispute.
I have carefully considered the evidence and the submissions made and I have concluded as follows.
I do see considerable merit in the claim; it is not fair or equitable that the Complainant be paid at a lesser rate than a colleague in the adjoining area performing the same work for the Respondent. On the other hand I can appreciate that in view of the National Circulars and other issues involved, conceding the claim presents real and genuine problems.
In all the circumstances and taking into account the foregoing I recommend that as a full and final settlement of the dispute that the Complainant be assimilated in a temporary capacity by the Respondent on to the Assistant Director of Nursing National Salary Scale with effect from 1st August 2014 on a ‘red circled’ ‘personal to holder basis’.
For the removal of any doubt I wish to confirm that this recommendation is peculiar to the unique facts and circumstances of the instant case and they cannot and will not be quoted by either party or any other party in any other case.
I so recommend.
Seán Reilly, Adjudication Officer
Dated: 7th November 2016