IMPACT to resist HSE payroll outsourcing move

5th October 2012

IMPACT’s Health & Welfare Divisional Executive Committee has said it will oppose a surprise HSE move to outsource its payroll systems. The union took the decision following the HSE’s decision to sideline a joint management-union exploration of cost-saving reforms of payroll services.

In a letter to staff today, IMPACT national secretary Louise O’Donnell says the move “effectively kills the much-lauded pronouncements of the HSE regarding the delivery of shared services.”  IMPACT says there would be no savings from outsourcing, not least because HSE staff who currently do the work, would remain on the HSE payroll.

The union says the HSE has failed to fully explore other cost-saving options for improving its payroll operations. And it vowed to use the Croke Park agreement’s outsourcing procedures to resist HSE plans. In the meantime, IMPACT is to establish a national representative forum for the staff concerned prior to any further engagement with management on the issue.

IMPACT says management’s move has pre-empted Croke Park provisions on outsourcing, which include specific restrictions on management and commit them to employ direct labour “to the greatest extent possible.”

HSE management has not met the Croke Park requirement to develop a ‘service plan’ for a service it wants to outsource. Neither has it made the required evaluation and comparison of in-house and outsourcing options – with an agreed plan to change in-house arrangements if necessary – before outsourcing options are used.  Croke Park also requires all relevant costs – not just pay rates – to be included in this evaluation which prevents outsourcing decisions based solely on labour costs.

A management memo to staff today said its decision will have “no short term impact on current employee roles or responsibilities.” But it warns of medium and long-term consequences for staff and services, although it does not say what they are expected to be.

Prior to the announcement, IMPACT had been attending “without prejudice” meetings to discuss management’s perceived problems in, and possible solutions to, the current payroll arrangements. The union had made it crystal clear to management that it would not agree to outsourcing and believes that this is why today’s management circular declared that its “project to appraise the available options” had been terminated – even though no tender has yet issued and the Croke Park consultation requirements have not been met.