IR Update October 2015

Below are relevant excerpts from Louise O’Donnell’s Health and Welfare Division Circular in early October.

National Secretary for the Health and Welfare Division.

National Secretary for the Health and Welfare Division, Louise O’Donnell, is moving on from IMPACT. Her last day will be 23rd October 2015. Éamonn Donnelly will take over as National Secretary for the Health and Welfare Division after that.

Sleepovers

The process in relation to sleepover is still on-going.

Management have indicated that payment of the increased rate has been made in most I.D agencies. Where it has not been paid HSE are just awaiting the template to be returned. At the last meeting there was some discussion in relation to the reduction of hours and rosters in the ID sector. Management said that they were looking at a number of options and that they would see them as follows:

  1. Staff not working in residential services doing sleepovers
  2. The requirement for sleepovers for all staff working in the sector
  3. iii. Part time staff doing additional sleepovers and
  4. Looking at the ratio of staff and the skill mix of social care workers and HCAs.

The union side’s initial response was that for people who currently do not have sleepovers in the their contract they could only be requested to do them on a voluntary basis and in relation to part time staff any additional sleepovers would have to be on a voluntary basis. It was agreed that we would have a meeting to look at this in more detail and a meeting was scheduled for 20th August 2015. At that meeting management outlined what compliant rosters might look like. They highlighted the difficulty in finding hours for staff on 39 hour contracts. They also pointed out that the rosters were predicated on part-time staff doing more than pro rata on the sleepover.

From a union perspective this flies in the face of the part-time workers legislation. It was felt that this issue might need to go back to the court for a decision as there was no point in pushing forward with rosters that are not compliant with all legislation.

In relation to TUSLA management are working with a sub-group. Lynn Coffey is on it from IMPACT looking at the existing rosters and how they can become compliant. However, their view is that without additional staff they will not be able to become compliant. They are looking at going from 2 staff on sleepover to one live night and one sleepover. However they have not received any additional funding or staff numbers. A small group of activists and staff have been drawing up various rosters compliant with the legislation for residential units and Lynn Coffey has been co-ordinating these meetings.

In relation to the non-ID sector, i.e. areas like Addiction Services, Homelessness a meeting took place on 20th August to discuss the payment of the increased rate to these areas and to start a proper engagement process. Management undertook to gather information in relation to the numbers involved and report back to a meeting on 28th September. At that meeting the advised that they are still working on the template for this group and will give an update at the meeting scheduled for 16th November 2015.

Twilights

A number of issues were raised in relation to twilight payments in Dublin North East. A conciliation hearing was scheduled to take place on 29th June. However, this was cancelled by the management side. We have been seeking engagement with management in relation to their commitment to make a payment in July, which has not materialised. On the basis that no success has been achieved this issue went back to conciliation on 15th September. Agreement was reached to make an interim payment in October with full payment by December 2015.

In relation to Galway/Roscommon the LRC issued a paper to both sides. However, the HSE have not signed off within the agreed timeframe the issue was with the department and I have spoken to the Minister about it. Industrial action commenced 8th September following a number of interventions a letter issued from the HSE confirming their agreement and advising they were seeking the required funds in the supplementary budget. On that basis the action was suspended to allow a ballot on the LRC proposal to take place. IMPACT are aiming to have ballot completed by end of October.