Healthcare workers should be rewarded in addition to any national ‘pandemic bonus’, the INMO says.
Ministers are looking at the idea of giving frontline workers additional pay or more annual leave as a thank you for their work during the pandemic.
The Government yesterday said rewarding the entire public service would cost around €1 billion.
Meanwhile, there have also been repeated calls for an extra bank holiday to reflect the impact of the pandemic - an idea now reportedly being considered by the Government.
It comes amid continued calls for healthcare worker unions for a specific pandemic bonus for healthcare workers - with the issue recently before the Labour Court.
Regardless of any society-wide bonuses, Tony Fitzpatrick from the INMO told Newstalk Breakfast healthcare workers still deserve “special recognition” - similar to what has happened in other jurisdictions.
He said healthcare workers are still "running on fumes" due to the intensity and traumatic nature of their work during the pandemic.
He said: “We’ve tried to engage with the HSE since last November - they’ve been dilly-dallying.
“The Government has been dilly-dallying - now it’s blowing up in their face as they come up to the Budget.”
He said it’s absolutely fine with unions if the Government wants to do something for everyone, such as an extra bank holiday.
However, he said: “Healthcare workers have to be looked after… all along we’ve said they need to be recognised.
“If the Government is planning something for everyone, they need to be conscious for healthcare workers there’s a live claim: we were in the WRC on two occasions, and the employer said ‘we’re going to work out the figures’.
“The next day they came back and said ‘we can’t do anything, this is a Government decision’. The Labour Court has clearly told them now they need to get into the room with the trade unions.”