The Labour Court has urged management and unions at the new Cork University maternity hospital to cooperate to ensure that the hospital opens on schedule this Saturday.
The Labour Court has made a number of recommendations to try to end the dispute over a number of issues including staffing levels, compensation for relocation, paid meal breaks, and parking.
The Health Service Executive has said it welcomed the recommendations.
Unions had argued that the Health Service Executive was not adequately staffing the new unit - particularly by including in its numbers nursery nurses, who are not registered nurses or midwives.
They also sought upgrades for night sisters, relocation compensation of €3,000 per worker, retention of paid meal breaks for staff transferring from St Finbarr’s and retention of free parking for staff from Erinville.
The HSE countered that of the new posts, 375 will be midwifery/nursing and only seven nursery nurses were involved.
It also rejected claims for compensation payments, arguing that this was part of normal ongoing change.
In its decision, the Labour Court accepts the HSE argument that the unit will need 375 nursing and midwifery staff, but says that nursery nurses should not be included in that number.
The court said that the HSE should recruit urgently to make up the shortfall.
It rejects the claim for cash compensation, granting instead one extra day's leave on a one-off basis in 2007/2008.
Promotions previously offered by the HSE and then withdrawn should be restored.
Staff transferring from St Finbarr's should retain paid meal breaks till the end of 2008.
Staff transferring from Erinville should retain access to parking there for as long as is feasible.
The Labour Court also recommends that a consultant should review operations three to six months after the unit opens.
The HSE confirmed that it accepts the recommendation in full.
Assistant National Director of Human Resources Barry O'Brien described it as excellent, and said he was confident the maternity hospital will be fully operational by noon on Saturday.
There has been no reaction so far from the Irish Nurses Organisation.