SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HSE (NATIONAL AMBULANCE SERVICE)
- AND -
SEVEN SIPTU MEMBERS
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Haugh
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Treacy
1. Claim for retrospective travel and subsistence payments for training period.
2. This dispute could not be resolved at local level and was the subject of 2 Conciliation Conferences under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission. As agreement was not reached, the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on 16 September 2019 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 15 November 2019.
3. 1. The Union is claiming that staff were entitled to reimbursement under travel and subsistence rules for costs incurred during training periods at locations in Dublin and Galway.
2. The Union claims that the issue of non-reimbursement is not contained in the Workers' contracts and that other staff were in fact paid travel and subsistence for the training period.
4. 1. The Employer maintains that during the training period the training venue is the de facto place of work for the staff.
2.The Employer maintains that this is a cost-increasing claim and is precluded under the PSA/PSSA.
Background to the Dispute
The within dispute concerns a claim by seven Workers employed by the National Ambulance Service (‘the NAS’) for travel and subsistence payments in respect of a period of mandatory training that took place in Dublin and Ballinasloe at the commencement of their employment in 2013. Six of the Workers are assigned to a base in Limerick; the seventh to a base in Sligo. All seven are employed as Intermediate Care Staff.
The Union submits that other colleagues engaged as Paramedics were treated differently and received travel and subsistence payments in similar circumstances. It is submitted on behalf of the NAS that the Workers’ place of employment during the relevant training period was at the NAS College; the within claim is cost-increasing in nature and, therefore, precluded under the Public Service Agreement; and to concede it in the case of the seven Workers would have implications for colleagues nationally.
The Court does not recommend concession of the within claim as the dispute clearly has operational and financial implications for the NAS at a national level. The matter should, therefore, be resolved in an appropriate forum on that basis.
The Court does, however, recommend that the NAS undertake a review of the correspondence and documentation it issues to newly recruited personal who find themselves in similar circumstances to the Workers on whose behalf this claim is being advanced. The documents in question should be redrafted as appropriate in order to ensure clarity in all respects.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
20 December 2019Deputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to David Campbell, Court Secretary.