Nurses disappointed at lack of proposals to avoid strike
Nurses emerged disappointed from talks with the Department of Health and HSE yesterday aimed at averting a strike over unsafe staffing levels.
Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation are due to begin voting on strike action from Monday week, November 19.
The INMO said they left a two-week cooling off period to allow the employers to make realistic proposals to avert a dispute.
The union was disappointed that no proposals were made at the meeting but reaffirmed they were available to meet any day before balloting began.
Officials from the department and HSE are com- mitted to further talks next week.
Nurses and midwives are concerned that pay is too low to recruit and retain enough staff for safe care.
Last month, INMO members overwhelmingly rejected proposals from the Public Service Pay Commission.
The commission recommended increases in some allowances and greater access to promotional posts but did not find there was a case for addressing the pay issue.
The Psychiatric Nurses’ Association also rejected the commission’s proposals in a vote last month.
The association has asked for a “down payment” while issues around the retention allowance and parity with therapy grades are discussed.
Officials from the department and HSE said they would come back to them next Tuesday afternoon with a response — ahead of the PNA executive meeting on Thursday.
The PNA has also warned of ongoing disruption to ambulance services as an overtime ban by 500 ambulance personnel continues into the second week.
The chairwoman of the Nasra branch of PNA, Sinead McGrath, said it was time for Health Minister Simon Harris to intervene.
The dispute is over the refusal of the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA when representing the interests of ambulance personnel.
Simon Harris: ‘Time for health minister to intervene.’