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Image / Editorial

#StandWithNurses: Strike action to be extended in February


by Jennifer McShane
02nd Feb 2019
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Last Wednesday, over 35,000 nurses and midwives took to the picket line after talks with the government failed. With the Government having no meaningful discussions since, The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has announced an escalation in its dispute over pay and working conditions.

Related: #StandWithNursesAndMidwives: We visited the picket line and here is what we learnt

At a meeting early on Saturday, the INMO said they were meeting to discuss next steps, and said further striking was necessary, amid the Governments refusal to make proposals to resolve the dispute.

“Our Executive Council is meeting now to discuss further strike dates in addition to those already announced. Sadly, the government has made no proposals to resolve this dispute. Nurses and midwives are united and in this for the long haul if necessary,” they said in a statement on social media.

The first nurses’ strike day in twenty years took place on the 30th of January – only the second time in the INNO’s 100-year history that it has gone on strike nationally.

“While none of us nurses and midwives wish to be in conflict with the government or on strike, the level of frustration with understaffing and the inability to either recruit or retain the numbers required to provide safe care has brought us to the point where there is no alternative but to protest,” they said of the strikes.

The INMO will hold two extra days of strike action on February 19th and 21st to go along with the already-announced strikes on February 5th, 7th, 12th, 13th and 14th.

Related: Why IMAGE Publications will #StandWithNurses

They will also be organising a national rally on Saturday 9th of February.

“Everybody – except the government – recognise that there is a serious understaffing problem in our health services.”

NMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said, “Nurses and midwives proudly stood up in defence of our patients and professions last Wednesday, but the government has responded with threats and intransigence.”

“Everybody – except the government – recognise that there is a serious understaffing problem in our health services. The public support for the strike on Wednesday showed that the Irish people stand with nurses and midwives.”

“Our message is clear. We will not be going away – resolving this dispute requires direct engagement from the government, recognising the real recruitment and retention problems in Irish nursing and midwifery.”

“We simply want to be able to do our jobs, but our health service cannot hire enough nurses and midwives on these uncompetitive wages. As ever, we remain available for talks with the government for any realistic proposals,” she continued.

The Government has said it cannot increase pay as it is outside the terms of the national wage agreement and would lead “to knock on claims.”

Main image via the INMO Facebook page

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