Nurses' union says local changes not part of deal


NURSES HAVE been told by their union that they should not co-operate with any dictatorial approach by local health service management in implementation of change and reform measures.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) maintained local health managers had been putting forward significant reform proposals and arguing that these must be implemented under the Croke Park agreement.

The union said this was not the way that the deal on public service pay and reform should be operated. In a memo to its 40,000 members, the union’s general secretary Liam Doran said: “In recent weeks we have been contacted, on an increasing basis, by local representatives, and/or members indicating that their local management has presented significant change proposals in their workplace, stating that it falls under the Croke Park Agreement and therefore must be implemented”.

“All members are asked to note that no change proposals have been agreed under the Croke Park agreement. Therefore, members should not co-operate with any demands locally for changes to existing terms and conditions of employment without the explicit and overt involvement of the INMO in discussions with the management side.”

Mr Doran said that it had to be acknowledged that the Croke Park agreement required all public sector workers to co-operate with agreed changes in the organisation and delivery of services to the public.

However, he said the deal also obliged the employer to identify the change required, to set out the reasons for it as well as the gains/improvements to services arising from the change and the financial savings that would result from implementing this change.

“Once this has been done, the agreement also explicitly provides for discussion, within agreed timeframes and, if necessary, reference to third parties where disagreement emerges.”

“In this context, it is therefore not open to management to table any proposal at local level and simply demand its implementation. Members should not co-operate with this incorrect and dictatorial approach by any local management,” he wrote.

Mr Doran’s comments came as the deadline approaches for Government departments to submit their action plans for bringing about reforms and changes set out in the agreement.

The Department of Finance had required departments to submit action plans for the implementation of the deal by today. However, it emerged last night that this deadline will not be met in all cases.

Speaking yesterday, Minister of State for Public Service Transformation Dara Calleary said these action plans would include proposals that would lead to cost-savings or which would minimise the impact of resource constraints on service quality or availability or actually improve services through technology or other means.

He said that in line with the agreement, “public servants would have to change, redeploy, retrain, take on more responsibility, adopt new work practices, and work across professional, technical and sectoral boundaries”.