RECOMMENDATION NO. LCR22722
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
HSE SAOLTA UNIVERSITY HEALTHCARE GROUP
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
|Employer Member:||Mr Marie|
|Worker Member:||Ms Tanham|
1.Proposed Outsourcing Of Security Function At Portiuncula University Hospital
2.This dispute was the subject of engagement at a local level, under a Joint Review Group and the Health Service Oversight body along with 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 10 February 2023 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990.
A Labour Court hearing took place on 3 March 2023.
3. 1.The Union claim that the management proposal is in breach of the outsourcing agreement under the PSA.
2.The Union maintain that the security role is delivered by HSE directly employed staff elsewhere in the Saolta Group.
3. The Union have proposed a solution of an 18-month contract for external security services with the Hospital directly recruiting security staff to work side-by-side with contracted staff.
4. 1. The Employer proposed a two year contract for the provision of security services, to be reviewed under the auspices of the WRC after 12 months
2. The Employer position is that no member of the Hospital Management Team currently has the expertise to manage a modern Security Service.
3.The Employer maintains that they have met with their obligations under the PSA in full and that the new model will not result in any job losses.
The Court has given very careful consideration to the written and oral submissions of the parties.
The parties have committed in their collective agreements to the use of direct labour“to the greatest extent possible”. The parties have given a commitment to consult on the development of a service plan. Such a plan is agreed to involve evaluation of the existing in-house service, the outsourcing option and a comparison of both.
The parties have agreed in their collective agreements that part of the evaluation process involves consultation “with a view to agreeing a plan to address the service changes necessaryto retain the service in house”.
The Court has not been persuaded that the parties in this instance have consulted in the manner which has been agreed between them in national public service agreements. It is clear that the agreements in place as regards outsourcing are based on the commitment of both parties to use direct labour rather than contracted labour wherever possible. It is not all clear to the Court that the parties in this instance came to the table with a view to agreeing the changes necessary to secure an in-house service delivery model which would meet the needs of the Hospital for a modern and effective security service in a manner consistent with the efficient and effective delivery of public services.
The Court has been advised that a very serious security challenge is faced by this hospital as a result of the behaviour of certain individuals who have occasion to visit the hospital and the ED in particular. In the view of the Court, it is in the interest of staff and patients that the immediate security issue is addressed immediately and effectively.
Having regard therefore to the parties’ own agreed approach to engagement in relation to changes in service delivery arrangements and taking account of the immediate risk to safety, the Court recommends as follows:
•That the parties engage immediately as envisaged by their collective agreement, and against the background of their shared commitment to providing security services“by direct labour to the greatest extent possible where consistent with the efficient and effective delivery of public services”, to consult on the development of a service plan. That process, as provided for by the parties in their collective agreement, should be conducted “with a view to agreeing a plan to address the service changes necessary to retain the service in house”. The parties have, in their collective agreement, committed to taking a number of factors into account in that process including overall cost, quality of service, effectiveness and the public interest.
•That, should management ultimately decide to proceed with outsourcing, there will, as provided for in the parties’ collective agreement, be regular consultation with the Trade Union throughout the commissioning and procurement process.
•That, in order to address the immediate risk to health and safety of staff and patients, the employer should engage the services of a professional third-party service provider for a defined period of six months so as to create a situation where the engagement envisaged by the parties’ collective agreement can take place against a background where the safety and security of staff and patients is assured. This engagement of an external party should not influence the parties’ engagements as set out above and should not prejudice the outcome of those engagements.
The Court so recommends.
|Signed on behalf of the Labour Court|
|09 March 2023||Chairman|
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to David Campbell, Court Secretary.