Nurses to fight pay cut for students
Frontline nursing staff have vowed to press ahead with a campaign of action to reverse students' pay cuts.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation claimed a Government review of the abolition of wages for full time trainees does not go far enough.
Liam Doran, INMO general secretary, said a proposed end to salaries for fourth year student nurses, some working 39 hours a week, was fundamentally flawed.
"Pre-registration nurses and midwives are the lowest paid grade in the health service," Mr Doran said.
"They work full rosters, replacing qualified staff and are filling gaps in the service that otherwise would have to be paid at staff nurse/midwife level.
"This government decision was wrong, is fundamentally flawed and should be reversed, without equivocation immediately."
Hundreds of nurses angered over the pay cuts for fourth year student nurses and midwives are expected to march in uniform through Dublin city centre tomorrow.
Representatives will hand in a letter at the Department of Health calling for ministers to reverse the cuts and later they will meet political parties to get their views on the cuts.
Under pressure, Tanaiste Mary Coughlan announced a review of the wage cuts last week. However, she suggested wages would be reduced in some way, adding that there was "a strong argument for some form of a salary".
The INMO said the review was welcome but does not go far enough and claimed the Tanaiste's statement pointed to some form of pay cuts.
The union, which has 6,000 pre-registration nurses, said it would take part in the review. About 4,000 students attended lunchtime protests last week across the country.
The INMO has threatened to encourage its 200,000 members to vote for certain parties in the election depending on assurances on wage cuts for students.
It also warned that it will ballot all fourth year pre-registration nurses and midwives for a withdrawal of labour in early March if they do not secure a resolution after tomorrow.