The HSE has agreed to accept applications to a reactivated job evaluation scheme for health service clerical, administrative and management staff from 1st September. The move follows intensive talks that resulted from IMPACT members’ huge endorsement of industrial action over the issue earlier this month.
In the wake of the IMPACT ballot, management has also accepted the union’s proposals on the method of filling posts upgraded on foot of job evaluations. And they have agreed to further talks on the union’s ambition to see the scheme extended to health professional posts and more senior management grades.
IMPACT national secretary Eamonn Donnelly has since written to the HSE to acknowledge the progress. But he also warned that industrial action would start on 12th September if management failed to honour this deal, as they did an earlier agreement to reactivate the scheme on 1st June.
On the filling of upgraded positions, it has been agreed that staff who have been in post for four years or more at the time of a job evaluation will stay in the position. Other upgraded posts will be filled by competition.
IMPACT has already trained teams of assessors and the union believes that, following the reopening of the scheme on 1st September, the first job evaluations could take place from October this year.
The union won agreement to reopen the scheme – unilaterally abandoned by management at the height of the economic crash – during last years’ negotiations on the Lansdowne Road agreement. Management subsequently agreed to reinstate the scheme in June 2016, but then reneged on that deal. This provoked an IMPACT ballot that saw 87% of members back industrial action.
The scheme, which will open to clerical and administrative grades III to VI, and related grades, offers staff the prospect of an upgrading if their job roles and responsibilities are found to have increased sufficiently.
Its eight-year suspension has led to a significant backlog of existing and potential applications from workers who have taken on substantial extra responsibilities as clerical and admin staff numbers fell dramatically during the crisis.
Job evaluation is an established tool that allows the knowledge, skill and responsibilities associated with individual jobs – rather than grades or staff categories – to be assessed and appropriately rewarded. While a job evaluation doesn’t guarantee an upgrading, many health staff believe their roles have grown considerably as they have taken on more work and responsibility over the years.
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