Psychiatric nurses’ union announces series of strikes

PNA says staff recruitment and retention issues need to be addressed urgently

The  Psychiatric Nurses Association has announced that its members will strike on three days next month and not be available for overtime on five days in the coming weeks. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

The Psychiatric Nurses Association has announced that its members will strike on three days next month and not be available for overtime on five days in the coming weeks. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

A psychiatric nurses ’ union has announced that its members will strike on three days next month and not be available for overtime on five days in the coming weeks.

The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), which represents some 6,000 nurses, is taking the industrial action over concerns recruitment and retention in the nursing sector.

Its members are to strike on February 12th, 13th and 14th and will not be available for overtime on January 31st and February 1st, 5th, 6th and 7th.

The PNA decision means the Government is facing a wave of strikes by more than 40,000 nursing and midwifery personnel across the country in the weeks ahead.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) earlier this week announced that its members would strike on six days over the coming weeks - January 30th and February 5th, 7th, 12th, 13th and 14th.

Members of the PNA voted overwhelmingly in favour (95 per cent) of industrial action up to and including strikes in a recent ballot and the union’s executive met on Thursday to discuss its next steps.

The ballot followed the rejection by the PNA of proposals contained in a report by the Public Service Pay Commission in September to address recruitment and retention issues.

The PNA described the Government’s plans for a €20million package of measures - mainly increases in allowances and greater access to promotional posts - as totally inadequate.

In a statement, Peter Hughes, general secretary of the PNA, said “realistic proposals” were needed from the Government to address the retention and recruitment issues as “a matter of extreme urgency”.

“With a 40 per cent increase in vacancies from November 2017 to September 2018, the level of vacancies is totally unsustainable and is seriously impacting on service delivery and patient care,” he said.