Tuesday 12 December 2017

Anne-Marie Walsh: Country is making a fast descent into a spiral of industrial action

The threat of a strike by nurses and midwives over staff shortages is the latest to face us. Photo: PA
The threat of a strike by nurses and midwives over staff shortages is the latest to face us. Photo: PA

Anne-Marie Walsh

We're only a month into the new year and the country is making a fast descent into a spiral of industrial action and the Government's bill for pay deals keeps growing.

The threat of a strike by nurses and midwives over staff shortages is the latest to face us. It could be that the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation is engaging in a bit of theatrics to bring its demands closer, but anything could happen in the next 24 hours before its leaders sit down to decide if industrial action is on the cards.

There is also the very real threat of further strikes at schools as the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland still refuses to sign up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement. From February 20, school buses and the rest of the Bus Éireann fleet could be out of action after unions sought a 21pc pay rise and the response was €12m of pay cuts. On Monday, we will be hearing if health support staff, including cleaners and porters, have voted in favour of industrial action in pursuit of a package agreed with nurses about a year ago that included extra holidays.

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