Irish Nurses and midwives set to strike over incremental credit reforms

<strong>The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) will stage a protest outside Leinster House on September 27th against the decision by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to deny incremental credits to nursing and midwifery students who completed their internships from 2011-2015.

An agreement signed between INMO, Siptu, the HSE, The Department of Health and the Psychiatric Nurses Association in December 2015 guaranteed nursing internships from 2011-2015 would be recognised when placing newly graduated nurses on a pay scale.

In February 2016 the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform withdrew this part of the agreement, which would have incremental credit awarded to around 3,000 nursing students who graduated between 2011-2015, which now only applies this to graduates from 2016 onward. This decision will be reviewed in 2017, however INMO are protesting to call for faster action.

Stephen Edge, a third year Nursing student in DCU, will be attending the protest in solidarity with nurses who will not receive incremental credit.

“This protest involves all nursing disciplines, this dispute has hit so many hard working nurses and left them completely disillusioned with their profession,” Edge said.

Student and New Graduate Officer of INMO Dean Flanagan said he hoped every college would send a delegation of around 10 students to stand in solidarity at the protest, as he believes the situation “is going to leave already squeezed nurses and midwives even more vulnerable”.

“We’re hoping at least every college will be able to send a delegation of 10 to 15 students,” said Flanagan and continued to say that on the day they were expecting between 250-300 students.

Flanagan said he believed it would affect the HSE’s Winter Initiative, as nurses would go abroad to find work and the HSE will have insufficient staff.

“They’re not going to have the staff there to open the beds,” said Flanagan.

Flanagan also stated the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform “have refused to meet the INMO or any of the organisations involved”.

INMO is meeting with TDs and senators from 10:30am-11:30am, and protesting outside Leinster House from 11:30am-12:30pm.

Conor O’Doherty

Image credit: Creative Commons

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