ADJUDICATION OFFICER RECOMMENDATION
Adjudication Reference: ADJ-00009432
Health Service Provider
Eamon Donnelly IMPACT Trade Union
John Brennan Ibec West
Complaint/Dispute Reference No.
Date of Receipt
Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969
Date of Adjudication Hearing: 10/12/2018
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Emer O'Shea
In accordance with Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Acts 1969] following the referral of the complaint / dispute to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaint / dispute and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaint / dispute.
Summary of Complainant’s Case:
The claimant has been employed as a nurse with the respondent since 2002 having previously worked in the public health system for over 20 years – she was promoted to CNM1 in 2010 and it was submitted that since then she has taken on extensive additional responsibilities which remain unrecognised by the respondent. The union set out a chronology of the claimant’s history – it was submitted that her role has expanded vastly since 2010 and a detailed account of the additional responsibilities was presented as part of the claimant’s submission. It was contended that the claimant did not pursue the upgrading of her post during this time because of the moratorium on recruitment and promotion. The claimant sought the regularisation of her post at CNM2 level in line with developments in other health service employments but was unsuccessful and it was submitted that her appeal of same was rejected on a technicality .It was submitted that “ it was neither fair nor sustainable for an employer to continue to extract more complex outputs from an employee without recognition and reward for same. It was submitted that the claimant’s area manager shared the view that the claimant was operating at CNM 2 level.
In a later submission of the 10th.Dec. 2018, the union submitted as follows: This case was the subject of an Adjudication officer Hearing held on 11thOct 2018 The issue at hand is the level of duties carried out by the claimant in her capacity as a Clinical Nurse Manager l. The claimant had been upgraded from Senior Staff Nurse to CNM 1in 2010 as a result of expansion in her role. This role continued to develop and expand, and the claimant sought an upgrade to Clinical Nurse Manager 2 as a result. This claim was rejected by the respondent. The Adjudication Officer, at the hearing on 11.10.2018, having heard the submissions from both sides (union submission at Appendix l), suggested an adjournment to the parties in order to allow for an independent review of the claimant’s role. This review was carried out by Resource Ltd, by agreement between the parties. The issue which now remains is in the interpretation of the findings of this review.
Both parties agreed to accept the outcome of the independent review. On the surface, following a detailed job measurement analysis, the reviewer concluded that the post should be graded at CNM1 level. However, within the findings is a clear statement by the reviewer that the role undertaken by the claimant scores somewhat higher than the generic CNM1 role, however it does not score sufficiently to indicate that it is at CNM2 level". (Appendix ll). ln the reviewer's methodology, the points difference between CNMl and CNM2 is 95 points. The reviewer has found that the claimant's role is 33 points above the CNMl role (approximately) 34%.
The findings of the independent review, clearly left room for some middle-ground negotiation to occur, aimed at finding some resolution which, as a minimum, afforded some level of reward to Ms ward for performing at a level in excess of CNMl without having implications on the grading structure within the organisation. On this basis, Forsa sought engagement with the employer to discuss the possibility of a once-off settlement arrangement but this notion was rejected out of hand by the employer.
ln the meantime, the claimant continues to develop the role, completely without reward, to the benefit of the Brothers of the respondent. The latest example of this can be seen in her major part in developing the guide on "Keeping your bladder healthy for adults with intellectual disabilities". This guide was developed by MT Continence Advisor Roscommon and the claimant. The information leaflet reflects the claimant’s input on the brochure (Appendix lll). lt is entirely unjust and unreasonable that the employer would not consider offering any reward to the claimant, even allowing for the structural constraints of the grading structure.
Forsa fundamentally disagrees with one particular point made by the independent reviewer in the summary of the report. The reviewer states "lt is clear that the claimant's level of contribution to the services is highly valued and that she has taken on changed work practices over the years". On the contrary, it is clear from the discourse around this case, that little or no value has been placed by the employer on the cliamant’s continued enhanced contribution to the development of her role since 2010. The employer could reasonably have at least entered into discussions, without prejudice, on exploration of a once-off settlement but steadfastly refused to do so. Accordingly, on behalf of the claimant, Forsa is seeking the award of a compensatory lump sum to reflect the fact outlined in the findings of the reviewer that the claimant is performing at a level above CNM1.
Summary of Respondent’s Case:
The respondent gave an outline of the services provided by the respondent and confirmed the claimant’s career development as outlined by the union. The claimant had sought Clinical Nurse Specialist in 2007 but it was rejected on the basis that it did not fit in with the strategic plan for service development. The claimant had sought upgrading to CNM2 in 2008 but it was rejected. She was upgraded to CNM1 In 2010.The claimant sought upgrading through a regularisation process in 2015 but this was unsuccessful. The grading of the post was again examined in 2015 but the CNM1 level was deemed appropriate.
IMPACT sought a review of the post in 2016 – the upgrading of the post was rejected on the basis that she did not have line management, budgetary functions HIQA responsibilities. It was argued that concession of the claim would have significant knock on consequences for several other nursing staff in the services.
At the second hearing, the respondent’s representative submitted that an independent review of the claimant’s post had d been carried out and found that the upgrading of the claimant’s post was not merited. It was submitted that both parties accepted that the independent reviewer’s findings would be accepted by both parties and that consequently there was no basis for the claimant’s request for a once off lump sum compensatory payment. It was argued that several nurses would score a higher point rating than the claimant – it was contended that what was being sought was the payment of an unauthorised allowance., that it was not justified, and that the respondent was subject to public auditing.
Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Acts, 1969 requires that I make a recommendation in relation to the dispute.
I have reviewed the evidence presented at both hearings and considered the extensive submissions of the parties as well as the findings of the reviewer, Resource Ltd. While I acknowledge the contention of the union that the claimant scored higher than a CNM1 in the review, I cannot ignore the fact that both parties confirmed that they would accept the findings of the reviewer. The process found that the claimant did not score sufficiently high enough to merit a CNM2 – accordingly , I find against the claimant and do not uphold her complaint.