New nurses contract 'inadequate' - talks with government stall
Talks aimed at agreeing a new contract for 40,000 nurses in return for increased pay and allowances have stalled.
The executive of the country’s biggest nursing union the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation is meeting this afternoon to discuss the latest setback.
Talks on the terms and conditions of the contract have been ongoing for weeks and follow last month’s Labour Court recommendation. It led to the INMO suspending its strike action which crippled services on a number of days in January in February.
However, the €35m deal is subject to a contract being agreed and the nurses’ unions now say the HSE and Department of Health want to extract too much in return for the pay rises.
They described the new contract as "inadequate" and said it would exacerbate the recruitment and retention crisis.
It led to no agreement being reached at Workplace Relations Commission.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the Government was looking for an unreasonable contract.
They are objecting to the extent of flexibility demanded in transferring of nurses from hospital to community.
“We are extremely disappointed at the government’s attitude in these talks. They have insisted an unreasonable contract, which would only worsen the recruitment and retention problems.
“Their proposals on rosters and location changes would make it very difficult for many women in particular to stay in the workforce.
The INMO said its executive would consider its position this afternoon.
SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser Paul Bell claimed the demands on working hours, rosters and redeployment would fundamentally undermine nursing terms and conditions.
SIPTU will meet later this week.
The HSE and Department of Health said: "Health service management remains available for further discussion with nursing unions.
"Management is committed to upholding the recommendation issued by the Labour Court and accepted by the Government, and to meeting the reforms laid out in Slaintecare."