Nurses say pay not cause of strikes but is ‘so­lu­tion’

Main cause of cur­rent dis­pute with Gov­ern­ment is un­der­staffing, says INMO

The Irish Times - - Home News - MARTIN WALL In­dus­try Cor­re­spon­dent

Nurses have said pay is not the cause of the planned strikes to take place in the weeks ahead, but it is the so­lu­tion.

The Ir­ish Nurses and Mid­wives Or­gan­i­sa­tion (INMO) said yes­ter­day that the main cause of the cur­rent dis­pute with the Gov­ern­ment was un­der­staffing.

How­ever, the union said: “With fair pay, the HSE will be able to re­cruit and re­tain enough nurses and mid­wives for a safe health ser­vice.”

The INMO was re­spond­ing to com­ments made by the Min­is­ter for Em­ploy­ment Af­fairs Regina Do­herty, who main­tained that nurses had not said they were un­happy with their pay.

Ms Do­herty ar­gued that nurses were plan­ning strikes on the ba­sis that they were dis­sat­is­fied with ar­range­ments for re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion of staff.

Pro­gramme

“They have not said they are not happy with their pay,” she said on RTÉ’s The Week in Pol­i­tics pro­gramme yes­ter­day.

Ms Do­herty said the Gov­ern­ment had ac­cepted each and ev­ery one of the rec­om­men­da­tions put for­ward by the Pub­lic Ser­vice Pay Com­mis­sion last au­tumn fol­low­ing its ex­am­i­na­tion of re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion is­sues in the health ser­vice.

Mem­bers of the INMO and the Psy­chi­atric Nurses As­so­ci­a­tion (PNA) are sched­uled to stage a se­ries of strikes in the weeks ahead.

Both or­gan­i­sa­tions re­jected Gov­ern­ment pay pro­pos­als put for­ward on foot of the Pub­lic Ser­vice Pay Com­mis­sion re­port in bal­lots car­ried out last au­tumn. Mem­bers sub­se­quently voted in favour of strike ac­tion.

Wage lev­els

The INMO said that the HSE sim­ply could not hire suf­fi­cient nurses and mid­wives on ex­ist­ing wage lev­els .

“Ire­land’s nurses are in­creas­ingly look­ing over­seas, where they have bet­ter pay and con­di­tions and are on equal wages to their physio and ther­a­pist col­leagues. In Ire­land nurses and mid­wives face a ¤7,000 salary gap with their grad­u­ate col­leagues at ev­ery point on the scale.”

Talks are to take place to­mor­row be­tween the HSE and nurs­ing unions about the forth­com­ing strikes.

How­ever, The Ir­ish Times re­ported last Fri­day that the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Ex­pen­di­ture is not ex­pected to at­tend this meet­ing, cast­ing strong doubt over whether any di­rect ne­go­ti­a­tions on pay is­sues can take place.

Sep­a­rate talks are to re­con­vene to­day be­tween the HSE, the INMO and PNA re­gard­ing con­tin­gency ar­range­ments that are to be put in place in the event of the planned strikes go­ing ahead.

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