Hospital chaos looms as nurses warn of strikes over pay
Striking nurses could be on picket lines as hospitals reach breaking point during the winter trolley crisis.
Angry nurses at a special delegate conference yesterday signalled a ballot for strike action is now almost inevitable over pay. Delegates at the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) gathering rejected Government pay proposals by 92pc.
It will now begin a ballot on the pay offer with a recommendation to reject. If nurses turn down the offer, they will proceed to a ballot for strike action.
This could hit services during the winter crisis.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association, representing mental health nurses, also announced it would ballot members and would be recommending rejection.
And, depending on the outcome, it will hold a further ballot on industrial action.
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), representing consultants, is also examining potential means of industrial action in response to the Government's pay offer.
INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: "Without a pay rise across the board, our health service will not be able to recruit and retain the nurses and midwives Ireland needs."
The Government proposals include a €20m pay boost due to retention issues among specialist nurses and pay rises as part of a €190m package for recent recruits.
The €20m pay boost for some nurses was recommended by the Public Service Pay Commission and would be worth up to €4,500 each. This is made up of a hike in allowances and the shortening of their pay scale.
Meanwhile, the executive committee of the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) has decided to put the proposal to ballot without recommendation.
TUI president Seamus Lahart said members would be provided with information on the deal, but reiterated the union position that it did not deliver pay equality and would not tackle the recruitment and retention crisis in schools.
The executive of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland will meet next month to consider its position.