Thursday 22 February 2018

Threat of nurses' strike is back after union rejects proposals

The INMO's general secretary Liam Doran
The INMO's general secretary Liam Doran

Eilish O’Regan

THE threat of a nurses’ strike is back on after their main union rejected a set of peace proposals.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said the measures were rejected by a margin of 58pc to 42pc in a ballot result counted this evening.

It means the series of two-hour stoppages in seven hospitals, which were put on hold last month after talks at the Workplace Relations Commission, will now take place om January 14.

Union chief Liam Doran said the INMO Executive Council, in response to the ballot result, has convened a national meeting of its emergency department strike committee for Thursday.

“In addition, the Executive Council has sanctioned the first day of strike action, involving two hour rolling stoppages, for Thursday, January 14 ,with subsequent days of action following later.

“The INMO Executive Council, at a special meeting today, also reviewed the feedback from information meetings held in recent weeks.  At these meetings it was clearly stated that members have no confidence, in local management, to deliver, on a 24/7 basis, the required changes to improve the environment for both patients and staff in emergency departments.

“This lack of confidence was confirmed, in recent days, when, once again, over 550 patients were on trolleys in emergency departments across the country.

“Members, particularly at meetings in the past two days, repeatedly articulated the view that this demonstrated senior management and clinicians, at hospital level, had not prepared for the inevitable surge, in the early days of the New Year, which left patients and staff once again in crisis.”

He added:”It is quite clear that, in rejecting these proposals, our members were stating that they had no confidence in senior management, at local level, to implement the proposed measures on a continuous basis.  It was also obvious that members believe that there is a complete lack of awareness, within senior management, as to the compromising of patient care, and safe nursing practice, occurring on a daily basis, from the continuous presence of trolleys and overcrowding generally.”

“We will now consult with our ED representatives and strike committees, on Thursday, and prepare for the first day of strike action, in seven hospitals, now scheduled for Thursday,  January 14.  Our campaign for a safer environment, for patients and staff, in the country’s emergency departments will continue until our members are satisfied the necessary measures will be applied on a 24/7 basis.”

The HSE said it has learned that the INMO's emergency department nurses have, by a small margin, rejected settlement proposals aimed at addressing overcrowding and staff shortages.

It added it remains hopeful that further discussions and clarifications over the next number of days, regarding the implementation of the Escalation Policy at local level, may assist in resolving matters and prevent industrial action.

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