Student nurses threaten strikes


Student nurses are planning a campaign of industrial action in protest at Government moves to cut their pay.

Under plans announced in December, the Government plans to reduce and ultimately eliminate payments made to student nurses and midwives during their mandatory 36 week placement in hospitals.

Until now students have received 80 per cent of a full salary during their nine-month placements on hospital wards, which form part of their four-year degree programme.

The Government has decided to phase out the payment, eliminating it by 2015. The decision means the 1,500 students who will begin their training programme next year will not receive any payment for their rostered placement in public hospitals towards the end of their course.

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation general secretary Liam Doran said today the move represented “slave labour”. He said that on February 9th, 6,000 student midwives and nurses in training would hold a lunchtime protest in 13 hospitals across the country.

He said that will be followed by a march and rally in Dublin on February 16th.

Mr Doran said the five main political parties would be asked on the day for their view on the planned cuts. He said any parties that did not commit to reversing cuts were unlikely to get a single cote from students and the their families.

Mr Doran said nursing trade unions will be balloting their members in fourth year in colleges on industrial action up to and including strike action. He said many hospital wards were reliant on student nurses and midwives and that any action would be “very disruptive”.