Tuesday 10 December 2019

Threat of nursing strikes grows after talks break up

Photo: PA
Photo: PA
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The prospect of industrial action by nurses edged closer last night after talks aimed at improving staffing in hospitals and across the health service adjourned without agreement.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and SITPU want the HSE to introduce a range of incentives to try to attract more nurses to apply for jobs and end the serious shortage which is affecting services.

However, both unions said the two days of talks led to "no progress".

The INMO said unless there is a radical change its executive will meet on Monday and will most likely give notice of industrial action.

This would hit hospitals at the end of February and bring more chaos as they continue to struggle with the trolley crisis.

Read more: INMO criticised for 'deeply offensive' and 'disrespectful' social media post

The talks began on Monday between the unions at the Workplace Relations Commission. Officials from the Department of Health, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the HSE were present.

A spokeswoman said: "At the talks, this afternoon, it became clear that health service management have no funded workforce plan to address the current unsafe staffing levels.

"These staffing deficits are compromising patient care and negatively impacting on the health and safety of nurses/ midwives."

No further meetings between the sides are planned. The INMO has a 90pc mandate for industrial action, beginning with a work to rule and escalating to work stoppages.

Irish Independent

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