Nurses to meet Department of Health in bid to avert industrial action

INMO planning strike action over recruitment and retention of staff

INMO general secretary Liam Doran said members had given the union a mandate for a mixture of one-day strikes and continuous industrial action. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

INMO general secretary Liam Doran said members had given the union a mandate for a mixture of one-day strikes and continuous industrial action. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

Talks aimed at averting industrial action by nurses over problems of recruitment and retention of staff in the health service are to get underway on Thursday.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) wants the Department of Health and the HSE to put in place “special measures”, including financial incentives to encourage nurses working elsewhere to take posts in the public health system and those already working there to remain.

The executive of the INMO is scheduled to meet early next week to review progress and, if necessary, to decide on the nature and timing of industrial action.

Any industrial action would not take place before the beginning of February.

It is understood that the INMO will be seeking for the Department of Health and the HSE to set out their proposals for tackling recruitment and retention problems in hospitals.

Some sources have suggested that the Government may propose that some issues could be referred to a third-party process, with others being left to be addressed by the new Public Service Pay Commission.

The backdrop to the new talks has been soured, to a degree, by delays in the restoration of a time-and-one-sixth premium payment for nurses for working between 6pm and 8pm.

This payment was to be reintroduced – retrospectively to last January – as part of a deal under which nurses agreed to take over some tasks previously carried out by doctors.

Deadlines

However, nurses have said a number of deadlines had been missed by hospitals for the restoration of this premium payment.

Speaking in December after nurses voted by more than 90 per cent in favour of industrial action, INMO general secretary Liam Doran said members had given the union a mandate for a mixture of one-day strikes and continuous industrial action.

He said the industrial action would be “shaped at contracting health services”.

“It will include no redeployment from one ward to another, no cross cover in the community, no overtime or no working excess hours.”

“Essentially what it will do is to force management to contract services to that appropriate to the level of staffing available.”