Haddington Road Agreement and non-members

Last updated 14th June 2013

Members of a union (like IMPACT) which has accepted the Haddington Road agreement (HRA) are entitled to its provisions and protections. Staff who are not members of the union are at the mercy of management decisions about the application of the HRA agreement and the ‘FEMPI’ legislation, in a situation where more savings and changes to working practices can be implemented through the legislation than through the agreement.

Staff who are not members of the union are also at the mercy of management decisions on issues like selection for redeployment, changed roles and other measures that are dealt with under the agreement. In any event, non-members will not have the benefit of union representation – either directly with management or in formal disputes processes – if disputes arise over such issues (or, indeed, on any issue that could arise at work).

IMPACT members are also entitled to a range of other benefits and services, which are not available to non-members (see below).

The current formal situation regarding the HRA and the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) is set out below. As you will see, much depends on how national, sectoral and local management decide to implement the legislation, so the situation may change over time:

How will the HRA be applied to staff who are not union members?

  • The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013 (known as FEMPI) is clear that members of unions (like IMPACT) which have accepted the Haddington Road agreement (HRA), and have registered that agreement with the Labour
  • Relations Commission, will not be  subject to measures in the FEMPI Act that go beyond the terms of the HRA.Members of unions that do not accept the HRA will be subject to the more punitive provisions of the Act, rather than the HRA agreement.
  • The position regarding staff who are not members of any union is less clear from the legislation.
  • The legislation suggests that anyone who is not a member of a union that has signed up to the HRA is vulnerable to the imposition of the FEMPI provisions. However, we do not yet know how this will be operated by management.
  • Staff in organisations where more than one union has members in a particular grade are highly vulnerable to the imposition of the FEMPI provisions if they are not members of a union that has signed up to the HRA.
  • The position of non-union members in workplaces where a single union represents their grade is less clear and will depend on how management implements both the legislation and the agreement. There are three obvious possibilities:
  1. Management could apply the HRA provisions to staff in grades represented by unions that have signed up, regardless of whether they are members of those unions
  2. Management could allow such staff to ‘sign up’ to the HRA provisions on an individual basis (and, thus, avoid the FEMPI provisions) or
  3. Management could seek to apply FEMPI terms to non-union staff and HRA terms to union members. In this case, the union would have to supply management with details of its membership in the relevant grades.
  • IMPACT’s preference is for option (iii) but management’s position is not clear at this stage.

Wider benefits of IMPACT membership

Aside from the protections contained in the Haddington Road Agreement, IMPACT members are also entitled to many other benefits that are not available to non-members. These include:

  • Professional representation when change, including redeployment, affects your workplace
  • Professional representation when things go wrong at work – including disciplinary hearings
  • €4,000 specified critical illness or death benefit (for members aged under 65)
  • Free legal help in bodily injury cases
  • Free 24/7 legal advice helpline
  • Free 24/7 confidential counselling helpline
  • Free 24/7 domestic assistance helpline
  • Advice and representation – including legal representation if necessary – in health and social care professional ‘fitness to practice’ cases
  • Excellent communications on the issues that affect your income and workplace
  • Access to IMPACT-facilitated financial benefits on car insurance, home insurance, travel insurance, additional pension benefits (AVCs), salary protection and life cover, and mobile phone special offers
  • IMPACT members can also apply for Gaeltacht scholarships for members’ children, industrial relations scholarships, or benevolent grants for members in financial distress.

Details of these services and benefits are available on the IMPACT website.