Nurses set Government deadline of one month to produce serious pay offer

INMO to consider other means to pursue claim if no proposals emerge in September

INMO President Martina Harkin-Kelly said if the Government did not make a serious pay offer by September 26th, the 300 delegates at its special conference in September would face a stark choice.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne/THE IRISH TIMES

INMO President Martina Harkin-Kelly said if the Government did not make a serious pay offer by September 26th, the 300 delegates at its special conference in September would face a stark choice. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/THE IRISH TIMES

 

Nurses have given the Government a one-month deadline to produce a “serious pay offer”.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) hinted at potential industrial action if the Government fails to table new pay proposals on foot of the forthcoming report of the Public Service Pay Commission into recruitment and retention difficulties in the health service.

The union said delegates at a special delegate conference it is planning to hold in late September “will be left to consider alternative means to pursue their claims,” if the Government did not put forward new pay proposals.

INMO President Martina Harkin-Kelly said if the Government did not make a serious offer by September 26th, the 300 delegates at its special conference would face a stark choice.

“ Either they stay with a failing public service agreement or consider alternatives to deliver fair pay and a safe health service”, she said.

At an emergency meeting on Tuesday the executive council of the INMO expressed anger at what it said was the failure to address the recruitment and retention crisis facing nursing and midwifery in Ireland.

It said the HSE had failed to adequately staff the health service, to meet its own staffing targets, or even to decide a staffing target for this year.

The INMO executive maintained the difficulties of recruiting and retaining nurses and midwives was “unresolvable without addressing the pay and conditions of employment”.

“Without nurses and midwives, bed capacity and adequate services in either hospitals or community hospitals will not be maintained. Every possible initiative except pay has been tried and has failed to either recruit the nurses and midwives we need, or to stem the outward flow from our public health service.”

“The executive council’s view is that it is time for Government to deal with nurses’ and midwives’ pay now, as patience is running out.”

The Public Service Pay Commission is expected to provide the Government with a review of retention and recruitment issues facing the health service in the days ahead.

This is then likely to form the basis of negotiations to run over four weeks.