Nurses to strike in seven hospital A&Es next week

INMO members reject deal on staffing and over-crowding in emergency departments

 Liam Doran, general secretary of the INMO with nurses striking last year. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Liam Doran, general secretary of the INMO with nurses striking last year. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Nurses are to stage rolling two-hour work stoppages in seven hospital emergency departments on Thursday of next week.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said there would be further industrial action to follow after its members voted to reject a deal aimed at dealing with over-crowding and staffing levels in hospital emergency departments.

The union said its members in 26 emergency departments rejected, by a margin of 58 per cent to 42 per cent proposals which were brokered before Christmas in talks at the Workplace Relations Commission.

The deal agreed at the Workplace Relations Commission involved a series of new incentives to recruit and retain nurses in emergency departments as well as revised internal arrangements for tackling overcrowding in hospitals.

Nurses taking up posts were to be offered a €1,500 education bursary after 12 months.

A relocation package worth a similar amount, announced a number of months, would continue, under the proposals

Controversially the deal contained provision for nurses in emergency units to get two additional leave days in 2016 and 2017 in lieu of meal breaks not taken.

The general secretary of the INMO Liam Doran said : “”It is quite clear that, in rejecting these proposals, our members were stating that they had no confidence in senior management, at local level, to implement the proposed measures on a continuous basis.

“It was also obvious that members believe that there is a complete lack of awareness, within senior management, as to the compromising of patient care, and safe nursing practice, occurring on a daily basis, from the continuous presence of trolleys and overcrowding generally.”

He said the union would now consult with its emergency department representatives and strike committees on Thursday, and prepare for the first day of strike action, in seven hospitals scheduled for Thursday, January 14th.

“Our campaign for a safer environment, for patients and staff, in the country’s emergency departments will continue until our members are satisfied the necessary measures will be applied on a 24/7 basis.”