ADDITIONAL HOURS UNDER HADDINGTON ROAD
ATTENTION ALL INMO MEMBERS
I refer again to the ongoing implementation of the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA) which continues to require monitoring to ensure correct application.
In this update I wish to advise you of recent developments in relation to the very difficult issue of increasing the working week of all public servants including nurses/midwives.
1. Additional hours under Haddington Road.
Nurses and Midwives increased their standard working week to 39 hours under the HRA.
However, as previously stated, nurses and midwives are permitted, under the HRA, to maintain the 37.5 working week with the consequential pay adjustment.
Staff who did not choose this option require new rosters incorporating the additional hours. These are now agreed in all but a small number of locations. Where agreement has not been reached Joint Review Groups (JRG) have been convened to assist the process. The HSE has confirmed that the engagement of these JRGs (consisting of two Trade Union representatives and two management representatives) has been a positive feature of the HRA to date.
It is regrettable that despite this positive approach taken by Nurses and Midwives, through the INMO, in implementing increases to their working hours, the HSE still seeks to exert further controls over how the additional hours are worked.
On 17th January 2014, the HSE issued a circular setting out their intention to set up a national ‘management assurance’ group. The purpose of this group is to examine if reductions to costs and expected savings have occurred and to support local service managers in implementing cost reductions. They state that this is to be done, ‘while maintaining and promoting delivery of high quality health services’.
As INMO members know, all public health services are overstretched to a dangerous level. The constant focus on cost containment is placing the delivery of safe care in serious jeopardy. A number of meetings have been held, at national level, on this issue during the month of January, and the INMO has re-iterated the position we have consistently held namely:
- additional hours, where Nurses and Midwives opted to work them, are to be agreed locally. Once agreed locally, and in place, no further review under this agreement is required, or provided for, in the HRA; and
- if Nurses and Midwives opted to stay on the 37.5 hour roster, with the appropriate pay adjustments, that is their right and management accrue savings from the reduction to salary.
The INMO will continue to support Nursing/Midwifery Managers who continue to put patient safety before cost containment measures. The INMO has repeated our call to remove the moratorium on recruitment for Nurses and Midwives to ensure safe staffing levels.
Despite a loss of 5,021 Nursing/Midwifery (Whole Time Equivalent - WTE) posts since March 2009, the moratorium continues. This issue has been referred to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). At the LRC, the INMO will argue that the moratorium must be lifted for all Nursing and Midwifery posts. This hearing is scheduled for Friday, 07th March, 2014 and a full update will issue immediately afterwards.
2. Changes to Sick Leave Provisions
As members are aware the arrangements for paid sick leave in the Public Health Services are changing. The INMO, and Public Service Unions’, explanatory documents on these changes are available on INMO website (www.inmo.ie). The Department of Public Service and Reform announced on 5th February 2014 that the implementation date for these changes is 31st March, 2014. The INMO is currently holding explanatory, regional meetings to explain the changes to members. Please try and attend the meeting nearest to you. Further meetings will also be arranged, by the Industrial Relations Officer for your area, if requested by members.
The INMO is acutely aware that the requirement to increase working hours, under the HRA, was a huge ask for nurses/midwives. In that context where revised rosters are now in place, following agreement locally, they must not be subject to further review.
Equally, where members have decided to remain on their previous hours this is totally appropriate, under the agreement, and no member can be forced to change their hours.
As always members should contact the INMO immediately if they are concerned about any issue, related to working hours, under the HRA.
Thank you for your attention to this note. Please bring it to the attention of all members in your workplace.
LRC Proposals for the PSA (Croke Park 2)