Newstalk
Newstalk

20.06 26 Sep 2018


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There are fresh fears over the potential for a nationwide nurse’s strike after unions recommended rejection of the Government’s latest pay proposals.

Some 92% of delegates at a special conference attended by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) this afternoon recommended rejecting the Government’s new pay plan.

Both organisations warned that if their general memberships follow the recommendation, they will be balloted for industrial action.

At the conference, members voiced their fury at the recent Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) finding that an across-the-board pay rise was not justified.

Recruitment and retention

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the deal the Government did bring forward will do nothing to address the recruitment and retention crisis in the health service.

“The government’s proposals are simply not going to make a dent in the number of vacancies across Ireland. We are calling for members of political parties to stand with us to secure the future of our health service.
 
“Without a pay rise across the board, our health service will not be able to recruit and retain the nurses and midwives Ireland needs. That means more overcrowding and pressure on staff, with patients suffering as a result.
 
“As ever, we remain open to further discussion with the government.”

Proposals

She said the proposals include a change in increments for some recent recruits and alterations to allowances for specific nurses and midwives.

“They have recommendations that basically, for new entrants, offer pay awards that they have to wait another four years to arrive at and also allowance increases that equate to between three and five Euro a week,” she said.

The Department of Health has estimates that the proposals put forward by the PSPC will benefit around 20,000 nurses and midwives.

Unfair treatment

However, Ms Ní Sheaghdha said nurses and midwives are the “lowest paid health professionals in Ireland” and feel they are being treated unfairly.

“They have recommendations that basically, for new entrants, offer pay awards that they have to wait another four years to arrive at and also allowance increases that equate to between three and five Euro a week,” she said.

“They believe that their claim – which is to be paid on a par with others who work in the health service, who have the same qualifications – wasn’t matched, wasn’t met wasn’t properly addressed.

The INMO looks set to ballot its members over the first three weeks of October.

Should they reject the plan, they will be asked whether they wish to join industrial action.


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