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Dispute over porter service at Crumlin Hospital

The issues concerned the provision of cover for annual leave, breaks and absenteeism of the new portering staff recruited to service the hospital’s HCCL, which opened in June 2016.

The dispute had not been resolved locally or at a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). Management, which was represented by Ibec, argued there is no change involved in the nature of the theatre porters’ work, which involves moving patients, cleaning the theatres and moving equipment.

Also, management stated there is no change to the working hours or earnings of the theatre porters involved in the dispute.

“The job description for a porter states that they are required to perform such duties as may be appropriate to the post as may be assigned from time-to-time and also that they be completely flexible in the performance of their duties,” according to management.

“The porters are not fulfilling this requirement by refusing to provide cover for the new HCCL.”

SIPTU, which represented the porters, sought that a minimum complement of 10 theatre porters be implemented.

The union stated the HCCL should continue to be serviced by a porter assigned to that department and that there should be a standard operating procedure in respect of porter allocation duties, drawn-up and agreed locally prior to members servicing the additional areas.

The union believed the hospital should re-engage with it for a meaningful discussion on the theatre porter roster.

The Labour Court recommended that the proposals dated 12 September 2016, which emerged from discussions held at the WRC, should with some amendments form the basis of further discussions.

The Court recommended a standard operating procedure in respect of porter allocation and duties within the theatres to be drawn-up and agreed locally and that the current complement of porters (10) should be maintained.

The Court also stated that, on acceptance of this agreement, theatre porters will provide annual leave cover, sick leave cover and break cover for the HCCL, which will now be considered part of the suite of theatres covered by the Theatre Porter Service in Crumlin.

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