Following a recent Labour Court decision about SNAs in Scoil Mochua, Dublin, SNA reps have sought a meeting with management do discuss any health and safety concerns and required supports that could arise before moving to new practices within the school.
The school is attached to the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC). The Labour Court’s decision was widely reported in the media.
Fórsa official Seán Carabini explained, “The SNAs in the school were not comfortable with their issue ending up in national media. The case itself was unusual in that it centred around the SNA contract. Until very recently, the school had never issued any of the SNAs with the SNA contract. The SNAs in question had been working in the school for up to forty years in some cases.
“When they were initially hired, they were told that there were different toileting arrangements for children with different needs. Some would need SNA support and others nursing support.
“Without a contract, local practices developed over the decades to respond to these different needs. This meant SNAs looked after most of the toileting, while healthcare professionals were responsible for toileting for children with more complex medical needs.
“The practice proved successful and has worked for many years,” he said.
Seán said the school decided a few years ago to change its practice and delegated responsibility for the majority of toileting to SNAs, which raised a number of contractual questions specific to SNAs in Scoil Mochua.
“Our members at Scoil Mochua have consistently operated from a place of concern,” he said.
Seán said the main questions for the SNAs at Scoil Mochua were:
- Were they best placed to meet the toileting needs of children with complex medical needs?
- Were they bound by the SNA contract even though the contract was never issued to them?
- Did management have to consider the local practice that had developed in the school over the decades to deal with the issue?
- What would the impact be on the other supports that SNAs give in the school?
Seán added: “The Labour Court, in its deliberations, considered that, in this case, the SNAs were bound by the general SNA contract and that the school could, indeed, change the local practice.
“At present, the Labour Court recommendation has neither been accepted nor rejected and, before making any such decision, the members have sought to meet with management do discuss any health and safety concerns and required supports that could arise before moving to new practices within the school,” he said.