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15.17 5 Feb 2019


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As some 37,000 nurses and midwives continue the second of their planned 24-hour strikes, a new survey has found that 64% of Irish people support the action.

The survey from iReach insights also found that 87% of people believe the Government could do more to recruit and retain nurses and midwives.

It also found that women are more supportive of the strike than men.

The survey found that 65% of the population believe it is unfair that nurses are paid less than their healthcare counterparts, such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

The survey heard from 1001 people between January 10th and 17th.

Gender

When the results are broken down by gender, the survey found that support for the industrial action  is far higher among women - at 71% - than it is among men - at 56%.

Some 90% of women believe the Government could do more to tackle to recruitment and retention crisis in the sector - with 83% of men feeling the same way.

When it comes to the difference in pay between nurses and their healthcare counterparts - 71% of women said the discrepancy is unfair while 59% of men agreed.

Recruitment and retention

Nurses are in dispute with the Government over the pay and working conditions, which, they have warned, has led to the recruitment and retention crisis in the health service.

This afternoon, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said a Government invitation to talks on issues other than pay was 'insulting.'

The unions general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: "ignoring the problem won't fix it; ignoring the problem won't make it go away."

"Nurses and midwives are very adamant about this and I think it is very fair to say, inviting them to talks about everything but pay will actually mean that they feel more insulted than they have been," she said.

"That is what they are saying."

Hospital crisis

The nurses are calling on the Government to take real steps to address the crisis - which has seen overcrowding in Irish hospitals reach record levels.

They are demanding pay increases of around 12% to tackle the crisis.

The Government has insisted that it can't offer health workers a special deal as any increase could see a flood of other public service workers demanding the same.

Yesterday, the Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe insisted that the dispute can only be resolved at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).


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