Monday 26 August 2019

Nurses vote in favour of €35m a year pay and allowances deal

Protests: Nurses have staged several strikes
Protests: Nurses have staged several strikes

Eilish O’Regan

Nurses in the country’s biggest nursing union have voted in favour of the new €35m a year pay and allowances deal which was brokered after their crippling all-out strike earlier this year.

The union’s ballot result reported a 62pc vote in favour of acceptance- a lower majority  than expected.

Nurses engaged in three days of strike in January and February this year bringing hospital and community health services to a standstill before the peace terms were agreed at Labour Court negotiations.

The proposals include measures such as:

  • Commitment to safe staffing levels, based on patient dependency;
  • A new, higher salary scale for staff nurses and midwives;
  • An independent expert group to look at pay for those in managerial grades;
  • Increased and expanded allowances;
  • Extra promotional opportunities;
  • Supports for professional development and education.

INMO nurses and midwives took strike action for three separate days - January 30, February 5 and 7.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:“INMO nurses and midwives fought hard for patient safety and staffing in a determined, controlled and collective manner. We are extremely proud of the safe, patient-focused strike organised by our strike committees.

“The government have committed to full implementation of these proposals. We now seek an immediate meeting with them to ensure this happens without delay.

“I want to thank our President, officers, and Executive Council for their tireless work and brave decisions throughout this dispute. I would also like to thank our colleagues in other unions for their solidarity – especially Patricia King in ICTU, who gave us great assistance. We are also grateful to the Labour Court and the Workplace Relations Commission for their considerable efforts to resolve this dispute.

Nurses pictured during the rally at Merrion Square, in support of Nurses and Midwives pay. Picture Credit:Frank McGrath
9/2/19
Nurses pictured during the rally at Merrion Square, in support of Nurses and Midwives pay. Picture Credit:Frank McGrath 9/2/19

“Finally, I would like to thank the public who showed Ireland’s nurses and midwives such support during our strike days.”

Health Minister Simon Harris said :”I very much welcome the positive outcome of the INMO ballot which was announced this afternoon.

"The Labour Court recommendations which the INMO members have now accepted, envisage a range of tangible and specific enhanced nurse practice measures that should form the basis for a fundamental change in the role of the Staff Nurse grade.

“The new Enhanced Nurse Practice contract which has also been accepted through this ballot result, should be the beginning of a transformation process of the profession.

"Intensive engagement between Health Service Management and Unions took place in recent months. I would again like to take this opportunity to thank the offices of both the Labour Court and the Workplace Relations Commission in assisting us in reaching this positive position today.

"As I already commented, I believe that the recommendation is good for the nursing and midwifery profession as well as good for the Health Service.

"I would now like to see eligible staff nurses and midwives move to the new role of Enhanced Nurse and make sure that both the profession and the patient see the benefits as soon as possible. "

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