Michael Staines
Michael Staines

16.14 12 Feb 2019


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Two of the country’s main trade unions have warned that they are considering their next steps following yesterday’s Labour Court recommendation aimed at ending the nurse’s strike.

Over 40,000 nurses called off three days of planned strikes this week after the offer from the State body yesterday.

The INMO said the proposals make progress 'across all areas of concern' - including to address staffing, recruitment and retention problems.

However, the union’s General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “There is still more negotiation to be done, but we are at a point where we believe strikes can be suspended.

Pay inequality

This afternoon, the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) and SIPTU both warned that they would now consider their positions.

TUI President Seamus Lahart said officials would now “analyse yesterday’s Labour Court recommendation in the context of the Union’s ongoing campaign to end pay discrimination and the severe difficulties schools are experiencing in employing teachers.”

“Pay inequality has led to a crisis of teacher recruitment and retention in second level schools,” he said.

“The number applying for places on the Professional Master of Education (PME) - required to teach at second level - collapsed by over 50% between 2011 and 2018.”

He said a TUI survey found that 99% of schools have experienced problems hiring teachers, with 58% having difficulty retaining them.

Public Service Stability Agreement

Meanwhile SIPTU General Secretary John King said the union’s members in health and other public services will now consult on the recommendations.

“We have noted the statement by the Government that the proposals outlined in the Labour Court recommendation are consistent with the terms of the Public Service Stability Agreement.

“We will give careful consideration to the detail of the recommendation and will be consulting widely with our members in the health division and others across the public service in local government, education and state bodies.

“SIPTU representatives will also be meeting with the Public Service Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in the coming days to discuss the recommendation.”

Recruitment and retention

Nurses downed tools to demand action on pay and working conditions – which they said were leading to a recruitment and retention crisis in the health service.

They warned that nurse shortages were making Irish hospitals unsafe for staff and patients.

The Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe this morning advised his Cabinet colleagues to accept the Labour Court proposals.

The Government had previously warned that it could not offer nurses a special deal outside the Public Service Pay Agreement – insisting that offering nurses a special deal would lead to flood of claims across the public sector.

INMO members will be balloted on the proposals within the next month.

The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) also suspended strike action yesterday, ahead of a full Labour Court hearing on Friday.


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