Thursday 20 June 2019

'Deeply frustrated' nurses move towards strike action as delegates overwhelmingly reject pay proposals

Sorcha and Pixie Byrne were at the protest outside Connolly Hospital yesterday.
Photos: Justin Farrelly
Sorcha and Pixie Byrne were at the protest outside Connolly Hospital yesterday. Photos: Justin Farrelly
INWO chief Phil Ni Sheaghdha warned of more difficulties. Photo: David Conachy
Pressure: Nurses and midwives protesting outside Cork University Hospital yesterday. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Eilish O’Regan and Anne Marie Walsh

Angry nurses today moved a step closer to strike action after 92pc of delegates at a special conference in Dublin rejected the Government’s pay proposals.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said it is to begin a ballot on the proposals among its members next month.

Depending on the result – which is expected to be a resounding rejection – it will proceed to a ballot for strike action.

The conference in Croke Park today was told the Government’s proposals for a change in increments for some recent recruits and alterations to allowances for specific nurses and midwives do not go far enough.

INWO chief Phil Ni Sheaghdha warned of more difficulties. Photo: David Conachy
INWO chief Phil Ni Sheaghdha warned of more difficulties. Photo: David Conachy

Nurses warned they will have impact on the majority of nurses and midwives in Ireland.

They insisted the proposals will not resolve the problem of recruitment and retention of nurses “leaving wards and services understaffed coming into winter."

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “The message from today’s conference was clear. Nurses and midwives are deeply frustrated with our health service.

“They are the lowest paid health professionals in Ireland, and many believe it’s because they are mostly women.

“The government’s proposals are simply not going to make a dent in the number of vacancies across Ireland. We are calling for members of political parties to stand with us to secure the future of our health service.

“Without a pay rise across the board, our health service will not be able to recruit and retain the nurses and midwives Ireland needs. That means more overcrowding and pressure on staff, with patients suffering as a result.

“As ever, we remain open to further discussion with the government.”

Following the conference, INMO President Martina Harkin-Kelly said: “We are proud to be a democratic union, and now it is up to members to have their say.

Pressure: Nurses and midwives protesting outside Cork University Hospital yesterday. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Pressure: Nurses and midwives protesting outside Cork University Hospital yesterday. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

“This conference has recommended that member reject the government’s insufficient, divisive proposals.”

The  INMO members will vote on the government’s pay proposals, with a recommendation from the union that they vote to reject.

This does not, in itself, mean that a strike will be called should there be a rejection.

That would require a further decision to ballot members by the INMO Executive Council.

The ballot will likely take place over the first three weeks of October.

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