Saturday 23 March 2019

INMO members lay down their placards after days of strikes

Myles Buchanan

The nurses' strike was called off late on Monday evening after the Labour Court issued its recommendations aimed at resolving the dispute.

Plans for three days of consecutive of strike action over Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were suspended by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (IMNO) following the release of a seven page document by the Labour Court recommending that thousands of nurses be able to move to an enhanced pay-scale offering salaries of €35,806 ad upwards.

The recommendation also states that an expert review of the nursing profession will be set up ad report at the end of the pay deal.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of people took part in a rally in Dublin in support of nurses and midwives involved in the dispute.

Local nurses were involved in a picket outside Wicklow Primary Healthcare Centre at Knockrobin on Thursday afternoon, with passing motorists beeping their car horns in support.

'We are doing this for patient safety and for both new and existing staff. I'm not doing this for me. I'm doing it for my children and my children's children. Staff levels have been so greatly reduced it just ends up putting extra pressure on existing staff,' said Mary Kinsella of Arklow.

'I don't want to be out here but I am 100 per cent committed,' said another nurse, who asked only to be identified as Clare.

Another protester said a lot of nursing graduates have become so disillusioned they are using their qualifications to try and locate other forms of employment or instead continue their studies in a different field.

'Lots of people just decide to go back to college and pursue something different or they use their nursing qualification to move onto another area. That's not to mention the numbers of graduating nurses who go abroad to find employment because the terms are better'.

The patients the nurses care for are also very supportive of their strike days.

'It's not within nurses' nature to tell clients they aren't coming but we feel we have no real option but to take action. It's not nice at the moment and things are very stressful. We contacted each and every patient by phone to let them know they wouldn't be getting a call today. But we gave them any supplies they may require, such as dressings, just in case they have to visit their GP. People are getting accommodated' said another protester.

Local cafés in Wicklow town showcased their support by providing free tea, coffee and refreshments to the strikers, while other generous souls presented them with snacks to keep them going. Also offering all the support she could muster was Mary Kinsella's eight-year-old daughter.

'She was talking about getting an electric toothbrush and I told her to hold off because mammy is on strike. Last night she came up to me and gave me €5 and refused to take it back'.

Wicklow People