INMO Strikes

Earlier this week during the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) strikes received support from the Psychiatric Nurses Association, saying that any talks which did not address pay would be of no benefit. The current offers of discussion by ministers has been described as hugely disrespectful by INMO. 

 

A ballot done of the over 40,000 members of the INMO in November of last year voted 90% in favour of industrial action.  

 

The nurses are seeking an across-the-board increase to achieve pay in line with other graduate-entry grades in the health service. The issues on pay had been discussed in 2017, however the deal made then has not been fulfilled. 

 

The “Safe Staffing Framework”, a piece of academic work carried out by University College Cork, suggested a staffing ratio of 80:20 between nurses and healthcare assistants. This ratio has been proven as unsafe for patients.  

 

The Irish Association for Emergency Medicine says hospital emergency departments risk becoming “battlegrounds” during the dispute because of pressure to decide which patients will be prioritised. The president of the Association has called for nurses to exempt the emergency departments from their strike. The standard assignment of urgency (triage) procedures in Ireland is entirely delivered by nurses. 

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar rejected calls for a review of the nurses’ pay claims. The union argues the pay increases are necessary to deal with recruitment and retention issues in the health service.  

 

Minister for Health Simon Harris has said that meeting the pay demands of nurses would cause a spiral in public finance, adding that the Government has a sincere offer to speak to the nursing unions to reach a resolution.  

 

A survey conducted by TheJournal.ie on January 30th found that three quarters of Irish people supported the nurse’s strikes - this was a day before the first 24-hour strike took place.   

 

Dr Doireann O'Leary spoke on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke show, saying that the Government is not listening to the “cries for help” from doctors, nurses, and patients.  

 

“What nurses put up within hospitals is extraordinarily stressful,” Dr. O’Leary said.  

 

Dr O’Leary’s father had been diagnosed with lung cancer amid the strikes, and said her situation highlights the impact of the strikes.  

 

The General Secretary of the INMO says she is “not overly optimistic” that there will be a breakthrough in the dispute soon. The Labour Court is reviewing the dispute in hopes to establish what assistance it can provide in resolving the matter.