Nursing union calls for jobs boycott
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called on young nurses not to apply for the 1,000 graduate positions available through a new Health Service Executive scheme.
The employment programme, which opens to applications today, will take on recent graduates on two-year contracts for 20 per cent less pay than nurses already employed in the HSE.
INMO general secretary Liam Doran said the move was an attempt by the HSE to introduce “cheap labour”.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Doran said the positions were “not new jobs”, and would result in experienced agency and temporary nursing staff being replaced by new graduates at a lower salary of about €22,000 instead of the current rate of €26,400.
He said young nurses who were already employed were being forced to quit and reapply on lower wages.
Mr Doran claimed graduates employed under the scheme would not be offered special mentoring or support, and would be expected to carry the full responsibilities of every other nurse employed by the HSE.
He said the UK offered “far more competitive salaries, far better educational opportunities and a far warmer welcome than the Irish health service”, and it was no surprise that so many young nurses were emigrating.
He called on graduates to “respect themselves and respect their fellow professionals” and boycott the jobs.
Speaking on the same programme, HSE director of human resources Barry O’Brien rejected the union’s claim, saying the 1,000 graduate posts were in addition to the 35,000 nurses already employed by the HSE.
Mr O’Brien said the scheme would be funded by replacing overtime and agency staff.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said that when premium payments were taken into account, the average salary for nurses taken on through the programme would be about €25,000.
He said the Government “has to think laterally” during a tough economic time, and schemes like this would create job opportunities which would prevent graduates from having to emigrate.
He said he hoped the health service would be in a better state in two years’ time and pay rates could be looked at again.