Friday 24 November 2017

Now psychiatric nurses prepare to stop goodwill duties in pay row

Anne-Marie Walsh and Michael Brennan

PSYCHIATRIC nurses are set to withdraw goodwill duties as fears grow that similar action by paramedics and gardai will severely disrupt St Patrick's Day.

The National Executive of the Psychiatric Nurses Association meets tomorrow to decide if it will step up its campaign against proposed cuts to premium pay in the new Croke Park deal.

Members may refuse to escort individuals who are committed to hospital or manage patients' money, which are not part of their contractual duties.

They may withdraw the use of personal equipment, including cars and phones, at work and refuse to volunteer to work at short notice for time in lieu.

Gardai and paramedics are also refusing volunteering duties. But sources said their existing campaign was unlikely to cause mayhem at parades on St Patrick's Day, unless new action is taken.

St Patrick's Day is a day of public duty, so staff are obliged to work. Currently, they are only refusing to carry out non-public duties.

They can refuse to volunteer for overtime, but sources said management could order extra gardai to work on the day, to make up for the shortfall.

The HSE said the national ambulance service did not provide cover for public events, as bodies like the Red Cross provided first aid on St Patrick's Day.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has not decided whether its 40,000 members would follow suit. INMO general secretary Liam Doran said his union had not taken a decision to take protest action yet but will announce "certain activities in due course".

He said it would first decide collectively on a campaign with other unions, as part of the 24/7 Frontline Services Alliance.

Dave Thomas

Irish Independent

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