Recommendations given by the Labour Court to end the dispute over working conditions for nurses and midwives are likely to be accepted by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
The INMO is viewing the deal favourably and urged its members to accept the recommendations which would lead to newly qualified staff nurses being paid up to €38,036 a year compared to €31,110.
“I think we have certain aspects that require further negotiations,” said INMO General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha.
Contract negotiations will be carried out over the next three weeks and will lead to a ballot for the 40,000 members of the INMO which will take place from March 11th until March 28th. The result of this ballot will be announced on March 28th.
The Labour Court deliberated over the recommendations during the past few weeks, with some talks continuing until 2:30am in the morning, while the INMO continued to hold 24-hour work stoppages.
Three days of strike action, as well as a public rally through Dublin City, resulted in tens of thousands of outpatient appointments being affected, however, patients receiving life-preserving care were still looked after by paid skeleton staff.
However, this is the second time in 100 years that nurses and midwives have taken industrial action against the government because they believe working conditions in the profession are not fair compared to other healthcare professionals in the country.
“Our graduates are not on a par with other with other health professionals. If you have a midwife that’s done a four-year degree, then done a Masters programme and she is competing with the likes of dietitians and physios. She’s not on any way the same income level as them,” said a senior nurse on the picket lines of the Rotunda hospital during the first day of work stoppages.
“And why is there not parity of income for people who put in the same and have such an important role in life as we do,” she continued.
The main reason for the strike was for pay parity which INMO members stated will lead to less emigration of Irish trained nurses which will result in safer staffing levels.
In some circumstances, nurses who spent years in one speciality and one specific ward were rostered to work in a completely different area of patient care. For example, nurses who usually cared for babies could be transferred for the day into elderly medicine.
All industrial action by the 40,000 INMO members is suspended while they consider the Labour Courts recommendations.
Image Credit: Alison Clair