Care workers seek to stop termination of employment contracts before the High Court 9th March 2012
SEVEN SOCIAL care workers have asked the High Court to grant orders preventing the Health Service Executive from terminating their employment.
The seven, several of whom work with troubled children in care, claim they were at all relevant times employed by the executive despite it using agencies to deal with them so as to circumvent its internal recruitment embargo. They have been told their positions will be gone this month.
Michael Conlon SC, for the women, told Mr Justice Roderick Murphy yesterday they were being “sidelined” and their jobs taken over by “official” executive staff. His clients could not even be interviewed for their own positions, counsel added.
The executive has denied the women are employees and contend what has occurred is a lawful and genuine redundancy programme in the context of reorganisation of staffing.
The women – Claire Norton, Amanda Heenan, Susan Killeen, Janice Lynch, Teresa Ryan, Jenny Moore and Sarah Roberts – want orders compelling their reinstatement and restraining any person from replacing them. They are also seeking a declaration their redundancy is illegal.
In an affidavit, Ms Norton said she had worked with the executive since 2006 and was the longest-serving family worker in the Oars Project. In 2007, she was told she had to sign up with an agency and was employed by that agency to overcome difficulties with executive policy on direct recruitment.
She was interviewed for her existing position in 2007 and offered that job. She was later told the post had been retracted due to an employment embargo in the executive, but this made no difference to her daily work schedule. In June 2011 she and her colleagues were told the executive wished to transfer the working arrangements to another agency.
In January this year she said her manager at the executive told her two permanent staff members had been sanctioned to Oars Family Services, her position was going to be advertised immediately to existing executive staff and her employment was to finish this month. In an affidavit, Pat Dunne, regional director of children and family services at the executive, said it had agreed to fund a redundancy programme affecting 75 social care workers in the context of reorganisation and redeployment of personnel.
Article appeared in the Irish Times on Saturday 25th February 2012