Lower pay fails to attract nurses
Nursing unions have described the HSE’s decision to extend a deadline for its graduate nurse recruitment scheme as evidence of its failure.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and Siptu, which have called on nurses to boycott the scheme, say the HSE should now abandon its attempts to recruit staff at 80 per cent of normal starting salary.
The HSE, while refusing to say how many nurses have applied, has opened the scheme to graduates from 2010 and 2011 in addition to last year. Under the scheme, starting salaries will fall from €26,000 to €22,000 for nurses, who are being offered two years of employment.
HSE director Barry O’Brien admitted yesterday there had been a “very slow level of application” to the scheme.
The low numbers of applications showed that graduates were taking part in a boycott of the scheme organised by the INMO, its general secretary Liam Doran said.
“This boycott call will remain in place for whatever application period the HSE lays down,” he said.
“The HSE decision also confirms that this was never an educational programme, nor an opportunity to consolidate learning, but was always an overt attempt to introduce cut-price, yellow-pack nursing posts into our health service.”
The organisation is asking graduates to continue the boycott until the HSE begins discussions with employees.
Mr Doran said the scheme was “cheap labour” and an attack on the nursing and midwifery professions.
Fianna Fáil called on Minister for Health James Reilly to review urgently the terms and conditions for the scheme and said the recruitment campaign is failing.
Siptu has also called on the HSE to end its attempts to recruit 1,000 nurses and midwives to the scheme.