SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HEALTH PRODUCTS REGULATORY AUTHORITY
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH MEDICAL ORGANISATION)
Chairman: Ms O'Donnell
Employer Member: Ms Doyle
Worker Member: Mr Hall
1. Health Products Regulatory Authority Medical Officer Allowance.
2. This case relates to the application of a consultant's allowance to new entrant Medical Officers of which 10 staff are involved.
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 20 June 2019 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court Hearing took place on 20 August 2019. The following is the Recommendation of the Court:
3. 1. The Union is seeking the re-introduction of an allowance that has been consistently paid to pre-2012 Medical Officers.
2. The Union state that the removal of the allowance for all post-2012 Medical Officers created a two-tier remuneration structure for Medical Officers depending on the date of their commencement.
3. The Union state the re-introduction of the allowance for all Medical Officers would establish parity with all staff that perform the role.
4. 1. The Employer states the allowance was incorrectly applied to Medical Officers in the past and to make any such payments would have significant ongoing cost increasing consequences.
2. The Employer states the Workers never had the allowance, have no entitlement to same and therefore no pay cut has occurred.
3. The Employer states the allowance is paid to the grade that supervise the Medical Officers based on their skills, qualifications and experience.
The issue in dispute between the parties concerns the non-payment of an allowance to Medical Officers recruited from 2012 onwards. The allowance was originally introduced by agreement with the IMO in 1998 and was payable to the grades of Medical Director now Senior Medical Officer and Medical Assessor. It was accepted by the parties that the grade of Medical Assessor is no longer operative in Ireland. In 2004 a new grade of Medical Officer was created. It is the Employer’s contention that the allowance was paid to this new grade in error and that when the error came to light in 2012, they stopped it for future new entrants. In relation to the staff that had received it in error the Employer decided to leave the allowance with them on an individual red circled basis. It was the Unions submission that they only became aware that the allowance was not being paid to post 2012 entrants in late 2017 and at that time they sought to engage with the employer in relation to applying it to all Medical Officers. It is the Employers submission that the allowance is red circled to six individuals and cannot be extended to the 10 medical officers recruited after 2012. In support of their position they pointed to a Medical Officer who had the allowance and left. When he returned in 2014, he was not granted the allowance even though he previously had same.
The Court having read the submissions of the parties and listened to the oral submissions on the day notes that for a period of five years no issue in relation to the allowance was raised by the Workers concerned. Red circled allowances by their nature cannot be used for comparative basis. In all the circumstances of this case the Court cannot recommend concession of this claim. The claim fails.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
22 August 2019Deputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Therese Hickey, Court Secretary.