Unions urge boycott of lower-paid nursing jobs
The main nursing unions have called for a boycott of a HSE plan to recruit 1,000 graduate nurses and midwives next year at lower pay rates.
The HSE has announced details of a plan to recruit graduate nurses and midwives on 80 per cent of the current entry pay scale. The proposed rate of pay for the newly recruited graduates is approximately €22,000 per annum.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and Psychiatric Nurses Association, which represent more than 45,000 nurses and midwives, have called for a boycott of the scheme.
The unions have described the scheme as “opportunistic and greedy”, and say it will lead to the exploitation of registered nurses and midwives.
The nursing organisation’s general secretary Liam Doran said: “This scheme will drive nurses to England, where they can get better-paid jobs and conditions.” The organisation claims the Government announced the recruitment initiative “without any meaningful consultation or discussion”.
One 2012 general nursing graduate, Aisling Maher, said she was “shocked and appalled” at the scheme and said many of graduates were considering emigrating.
‘An insult to our profession’
“The level of pay they are offering is not acceptable,” she said. “The healthcare state is under incredible stress here. We are already understaffed in the HSE, and we are accountable for all our actions. Eighty per cent of the pay is an insult to our profession. The scheme initially sounded appealing until you realise what it meant. Anyone I spoke to will not consider it.”
Psychiatric Nurses Association general secretary Des Kavanagh said anger had intensified over the scheme, which he said would drive more nurses abroad. The unions have called on all 2012 graduates not to apply for any posts until they are offered the full salary.
A national rally of all 2012 graduates, fourth-year undergraduates, agency nurses and nurses on panels will be held on January 5th at Croke Park, a week before the posts are advertised. The two unions have called for a meeting with Minister for Health James Reilly and Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin.
Nursing organisation president Clare Mahon said the scheme would “callously dispense with services of agency or temporary staff who are only working because the HSE refuses to fill vacant posts”.
Siptu’s Kevin Figgis said: “While we welcome the recruitment of 1,000 graduate nurses and midwives, it is simply abhorrent that the HSE would seek to exploit them by offering vastly reduced rates.”