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04/04/2019 Comments are off Patrick Cole

Labour Court recommendation on nursing and midwifery contract

This is an important update following receipt of the second Labour Court Recommendation in relation to the Enhanced Nurse/Midwife contract.

As you will note, SIPTU expressed our opposition following receipt of the draft contract from the HSE and relevant Government departments several weeks ago. This draft contract was prepared by the HSE and Government departments following issue of the original Labour Court recommendation.

The draft contract originating from the first Labour Court recommendation had several offending proposals including:

  • a requirement for acceptance that nurses/midwives could be rostered to work in a location within 45kms of their existing workplace or
  • rosters from 4hour duration would be issued for nurses and midwives

As no agreement could be agreed on these points, a second referral to the Labour Court proceeded. This resulted in the receipt of the second recommendation yesterday.

Having reviewed the contents of the second recommendation, SIPTU is clear that we do not want our members to be subject to any misunderstanding, confusion or misleading information relating to the proposed contract for enhanced nurses or midwives.

We are making this point as, while we have a second recommendation from the Court:

  1. We have not received formal confirmation from employers’ bodies that they accept the recommendation
  2. We have not received a draft of the revised contract which would incorporate the recommended changes in the second Labour Court recommendation received yesterday
  3. We believe it is essential that an engagement proceeds with the HSE/Govt Departments in the first instance to ensure there is a common and agreed understanding on the recommendations of the Labour Court and how they will be interpreted in a new contract of employment for nurses and midwives.

It should be noted within the Labour Court recommendation received yesterday, it states:

  • Location: ‘This may require you to provide services at other places of work on a regular/intermittent basis as required by the employer. Any transfer to another place of work will be in accordance with this contract, employer policies and National Agreements in place from time to time.’
  • Hours of Work: ‘Rostering arrangements may be changed from time to time in line with clinical and/or service need as determined by the Employer. You will be notified of rosters at least 4 weeks prior to their taking effect other than where there is a requirement for the employer to amend the roster to respond to unplanned clinical need.’

These points are made as we have already experienced key differences of opinion in the implementation of the first Labour Court recommendation.

Had they been introduced, these differences would have had a detrimental effect on the conditions of employment of nurses and midwives, their working lives and family/social commitments.

Accordingly, prior to ballot, SIPTU will be contacting relevant HSE/Govt Departments today to seek an urgent engagement on an updated draft of the proposed contract of employment for enhanced nurse or midwife.

We are seeking to ensure that our members have all information prior to a ballot including receipt of a copy of the draft contract to which they would be asked to commit. We trust this update is of assistance to you.

Attached here is a copy of the Labour Court recommendation for consideration.

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