NURSES STRIKE THREAT OVER PAY

Union fury as minister rules out 12% rise

Irish Daily Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY PAT FLANA­GAN

THE coun­try’s nurses are on a col­li­sion course with the Gov­ern­ment in a row over pay which could re­sult in strike ac­tion.

Fi­nance Minister Paschal Dono­hoe has ruled out a sep­a­rate wage in­crease for the pro­fes­sion.

How­ever, the Ir­ish Nurses and Mid­wives Or­gan­i­sa­tion is de­mand­ing a 12% rise and has also high­lighted con­cerns about un­der­staffing and safety in the health ser­vice.

It is bal­lot­ing its mem­bers in­dus­trial ac­tion.

Minister Dono­hoe said there is no way he can deal with this claim out­side cur­rent wage agree­ments.

He told the Tonight Show on Vir­gin Me­dia One that it is “not a de­mand I’m go­ing to be able to meet”.

He added: “I have the height of re­spect for the work our nurses do and for the huge con­tri­bu­tions they make in our wards ev­ery hour and ev­ery day.

“But I also have a huge amount of re­spect for the work other pub­lic ser­vants do. If a de­mand like that was for to be con­ceded it would have huge and en­tirely neg­a­tive con­se­quences for the cur­rent wage agree­ment that we have and wouldn’t be af­ford­able.

“So I’m happy to en­gage with the nurses and their representatives on the re­port from the pub­lic ser­vice pay com­mis­sion.

“I’m happy to work in­side the over­all col­lec­tive wage agree­ment that we have.”

The re­jec­tion on TV sparked anger with the INMO crit­i­cal of the minister for com­mu­ni­cat­ing over the air­waves in­stead of meet­ing them in per­son. In a state- ment, the union said: “Since Minister Dono­hoe ap­peared on the Tonight Show we have re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of com­ments from our mem­bers who felt his com­ments were pa­tro­n­is­ing to­wards them as a ma­jor­ity fe­male work­force and had lit­tle re­gard for re­quests made on their be­half.”

Mean­while, it has emerged the HSE spent al­most €250mil­lion on agency staff in the first nine months of this year.

The rev­e­la­tion came in fig­ures sup­plied to Sinn Fein’s Louise O’reilly who claimed the agency spend was out of control, ris­ing and said agency staff were be­ing used to keep hospi­tals open and to staff com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties.

The TD called on the Gov­ern­ment to use di­rect labour as the best and most cost-ef­fec­tive way to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity of care and for­ward plan­ning.

Mr Dono­hoe

CROWDED Woman in busy ward

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