Thursday 23 November 2017

Talks aimed at avoiding A&E strikes resume

INMO chief: Liam Doran warned hospitals and employers had a mountain to climb in A&E strike negotiations Photo: INM
INMO chief: Liam Doran warned hospitals and employers had a mountain to climb in A&E strike negotiations Photo: INM

Rachel Lavin and Claire Mc Cormack

Nursing chiefs will resume talks today in a bid to avoid a planned strike in hospital emergency departments this week.

Kieran Mulvey, co-chairman and director general of the Workplace Relations Commission, said a number of technical topics will be worked through today. He added that he hoped the commission will be in a position to put forward proposals over the next 24 hours.

"We'll work right through the day and the evening if necessary to get clarity on these and hopefully we will be in a position to issue and commit a proposal that will be possible," he said.

The INMO's Liam Doran said talks were a "bend in the road" compared to previous negotiations and warned that management will have to prove their commitment with visible action on over crowding and staffing levels in emergency rooms.

Nurses are due to stage two-hour work stoppages in seven major hospitals on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Temple Street has revealed that staff at the children's hospital reported five separate car break-ins in 2015. This follows a dramatic incident earlier this year in which a night nurse's car was hijacked in the early hours of the morning as she moved her vehicle from the staff car park to on-street parking to make room for incoming day staff to park.

A spokesperson for Temple Street said that security escorts are available to staff to walk them to their cars at night, with additional security cameras added after the car-jacking incident.

The woman in her 30s was unharmed and the car was found burnt out a short time later on Store Street. However, the incident raised serious issues over the security of nurses as they struggle to find adequate parking spaces at the inner-city location.

Temple Street has approximately 100 spaces officially available to staff. As a result, staff members must use local shopping centre car parks or on-street parking near the hospital.

The spokesperson said: "Given its inner-city location, instances of break-ins to staff cars at Temple Street in the car parks are very rare, however, some staff and visitors parking on nearby streets suffer break-ins to their cars from time to time."

Similar security issues were raised earlier this week as strike action was threatened over the introduction of a €500 parking fee for staff at St James's Hospital. The charges are being brought in as part of the St James's Campus Smarter Travel Initiative intended to reduce the number of cars accessing the campus.

However, Joseph Hoolan, the INMO official for St James's Hospital, said: "The fee is completely unjustified and is causing huge anxiety throughout the hospital".

He said the addition of the parking fee will cause issues around staff retention as well as "security fears" if staff are forced to park off-site.

In response to security concerns, a spokesperson for St James's Hospital said that: "All evening and/or night shift staff will have parking spaces on site."

The INMO will meet with management on January 21.

Sunday Independent

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