Saturday 19 October 2019

Nurses warn dispute is still not settled

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Nursing union strike committees are being called to Dublin to give their support or thumbs down to a new contract in return for pay increases.

The contract, which was at the centre of more negotiations between employers and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) yesterday, is to be delivered by the Labour Court this week.

A spokeswoman for the INMO said it is hoped the contract will be ready for an executive meeting on Friday.

Strike committees, who orchestrated work stoppages in January and February, are also being invited to give their verdict.

Depending on the union's response, further industrial action, which was suspended to allow for talks, could be resumed.

The union said acknowledgment had to be given to the fact that nursing is a primarily female workforce, many with childcare commitments.

It is insisting the draft contract clause, allowing an employer to move a nurse up to 40km in the course of a shift, be changed.

Another contract proposal to permit employers to offer four-hour shifts would be extremely disruptive for many nurses who want to retain the eight to 12-hour shift pattern.

All sides met for more talks at the Labour Court yesterday and no further meetings are planned.

The hope is the contract will be issued this week.

If it is agreeable, the union can proceed with a ballot with a recommendation to accept, but if not industrial action could potentially be back on the table.

The deal is worth €35m in additional pay and allowances to nurses once the contract is agreed.

Irish Independent

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