Nurses back on wards as deal offered

Simon Brouder

Nurses were back on their wards on Tuesday as a last-minute intervention by the Labour Court saw the INMO suspend its planned three-day strike action this week. Last Tuesday and Thursday some 450 members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation mounted pickets at University Hospital Kerry and community health care units across the county.

The INMO had been due to mount a further three days of industrial action this week, but this was suspended on Monday evening when - after almost two days of talks between the INMO and Government negotiators - the Labour Court intervened and issued a series of recommendations aimed at ending the dispute over nurses' pay and conditions. The HSE said, with nurses and midwives fully attending work this week, it expects outpatient appointments to go ahead as planned.

Anyone with an appointment on Wednesday or Thursday is advised to attend. Surgical patients will be contacted by their hospital if their procedure is going ahead. INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha - who is from Ceann Trá in west Kerry - said  progress has been made but there is more to be done.

"After over 30 hours of negotiations at the Labour Court, the Executive Council have agreed that sufficient progress has been made to suspend strikes and consider the Labour Court's recommendation," said Ms Ní Sheaghdha "There is still more negotiation to be done, but we are at a point where we believe strikes can be suspended. "We are immensely grateful for our determined nurse and midwife members, who are standing up for our patients and our professions. They have at all times worked to ensure patient  safety during this dispute," said Ms Ní Sheaghdha.