News Update No. 52
ATTENTION ALL INMO MEMBERS
I refer to previous updates, in relation to the ongoing implementation of the Haddington Road Agreement and related matters, and wish to advise you of the following.
1. Senior Staff Nurse/Midwife - Appointments Underway
As previously advised, and following the issuing of the relevant circular, employers, locally, are now engaged in giving the senior staff nurse/midwife increment, to all members, who have obtained the 20 years service, since 2009.
All of the Organisation’s Industrial Relations Officers continue to demand, in direct engagement with local employers, the earliest possible implementation of this agreement and payment of monies due, arising from the salary increase, with effect from 1st July 2013.
We would encourage all members, who are eligible for this further increment, to also seek confirmation, of when the increase will apply and when will payment of monies be made. If any member encounters any difficulties you should contact your local IRO immediately.
The INMO has also made representations to the HSE that those appointed now, having had this grade frozen since 2009, should be exempt from any reduction to incremental credit as set out in the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA). Likewise we are arguing that those appointed, before the end of the HRA should be treated in accordance with paragraph 2.25, which allows for a reduction of 3 days annual leave or a quarter of the most recent increment, or the value of 3 days. The HSE’s response is set out below:
“I refer to your letter of October 21st in which you raise, inter alia, the issue of exempting Senior Staff nurses who are being appointed from July 1st 2013 from the provisions of above clause of HRA. You also in the same correspondence are seeking an accommodation with regard to those nurses who will access this scale during the lifetime of the HRA. I can confirm that your correspondence has been forwarded to DPER for their consideration. The HSE have stressed to DPER your desire for an early response. I will be in further touch as soon as there are any more developments on the matter.”
It is important that those eligible for appointment do not agree, or opt for, any of the incremental adjustment measures until this response is received from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. We will issue further updates on this in due course.
Furthermore it is agreed that the Senior Staff Nurses/Midwives appointed from July 2013, will be required to take responsibilities of the higher post in accordance with the new acting arrangements, but only at ward level. Please ensure that any documentation you receive i.e. revised job description, specifies that this commitment is only to ward level responsibility. It is agreed that normal selection criteria will apply to any such posts of responsibility.
Finally I would once again advise all members, who believe they are eligible for this increment but have not, to date, notified their employer locally, to do so, immediately. This will to ensure they benefit from this aspect of the agreement without further delay.
2. Regularisation of Long-Term Actors
The Organisation is also seeking, through our IROs at regional level, the earliest possible implementation of all arrangements necessary to regularise members, in their higher post, who have been acting for the required two year period up to 31st December 2012.
The INMO also continues in discussions, with the HSE, in an effort to seek agreement with regard to the application, of this long term regularisation initiative, in the context of claims that are currently before third parties i.e. the Labour Court. However these discussions should not hold up the overall implementation, of this aspect of the agreement, and any member who is encountering difficulties should again contact their local IRO.
3. Working Hours
The INMO is again reaffirming to all members, as per our earlier circular, that the Haddington Road Agreement, as it applies to nursing/midwifery grades, does not require members to increase their working hours to 39 hours.
In this context, notwithstanding a recent circular issued by the HSE, we are continuing to advise members they can remain on their existing hours, with the appropriate pay adjustment, if that is their preference.
This matter was raised at the first meeting of the Health Service Oversight Body, established under the agreement. The INMO, and all health service unions, were unanimous in stating that the HSE would be in breach of the agreement if it sought to force people to move to a 39 hour week.
In the context of the Haddington Road Agreement it should be noted that the text, for nursing/midwifery grades, negotiated by the INMO, is very explicit with regard to the right of members to remain on their existing hours. This is an integral part of the agreement. This is what INMO members voted on and this is the position we will be maintaining on this matter.
4. Changes to Sick Leave / Sick Pay Arrangements
As detailed, in previous and separate updates, arrangements are almost complete, right across the public sector, for the introduction of revised sick leave/sick pay arrangements with effect from 1st January 2014.
As you will know these arrangements essentially provide for a reduction in the sick leave/sick pay entitlement, of all public servants, to three months full pay and three months half pay in any period of four years from this 1st January 2014 date.
However, following lengthy discussions involving public sector unions and management, the entitlement of six months full pay and six months half pay, in a period of four years, will continue in a situation of a “critical” illness. The exact definition of a “critical” illness remains the subject of discussions with employers. While this and a number of other issues remain outstanding, and will be the subject of a Labour Court hearing on 16th December, the management side, on behalf of government, have reiterated that the revised arrangements will be introduced from 1st January 2014.
As this is a very significant change the INMO will, early in the New Year, commence a series of information workshops, across the country, to advise members of the details of the final agreement. The dates, times and venues, of these evening information workshops, will be notified to you, in due course, and we would encourage all members to attend these important sessions.
In the interim if any member has a particular query, about these changes, and how it will affect them, if they have a current long term illness, they should immediately contact their local Industrial Relations Officer.
5. Graduate Staff Nurse/Midwife Programme
The INMO continues in discussions, with the HSE, with regard to the introduction of this Graduate Staff Nurse/Midwife programme.
The Organisation continues to be very dissatisfied with regard to attempts, by some managements at local level, to offer the programme instead of filling, in the normal way, staff nurse/midwife vacancies.
In our continuing discussions, with the HSE, the INMO is seeking the following:
- that graduate staff nurse/midwife posts should only be advertised/ offered in locations that, currently, have an agency/overtime spend which needs to be reduced;
- the graduate staff nurse/midwife programmes should only be offered within a setting where the new graduates can rotate, during the two years of the programme, to gain experience in a number of general/specialist areas;
- that the graduate programme is offered on a full-time basis only;
- that the graduate programme is always offered in tandem with access, with appropriate time off and educational support, to the Level 9 educational programme being offered by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; and
- that the HSE continues to fill, in the normal way, all other critical staff nurse/midwife posts involving open competition.
It is imperative, in the ongoing roll out of this programme, that members advise us immediately if they feel that the programme post, being offered, does not meet the above criteria so that we can raise same with the relevant employer.
As can be seen, from the foregoing, there are many ongoing issues, at local level, which require constant attention.
In that regard I will close this update by reiterating that any member who has a concern, about any aspect of Haddington Road, should contact the Organisation immediately to have same clarified.
Thank you for your attention to this latest update and please bring it to the attention of members in your workplace.
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