Thousands of nurses on strike

Over 35,000 nurses and midwives have begun strike action at health services around the country.

The nurses, all members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), began their 24-hour action at 8am this morning.

On Monday, the INMO accepted an invitation from the Labour Court to informal talks, however these ended without agreement. Following these talks, the Labour Court decided not to intervene in the strike as it felt that the two sides were too far apart. 

The INMO is calling for an across the board pay rise to deal with the recruitment and retention crisis in nursing. However, the Government insists that this would lead to knock-on claims that it cannot afford, particularly as the country faces the repercussions of Brexit.

If this dispute continues, there will be further 24-hour strikes on February 5, 7, 12, 13 and 14. 

During these times, nurses and midwives will withdraw their labour, providing only lifesaving care and emergency response teams. The dispute centres on poor pay and staff shortages.

The strike is affecting all public hospitals and community healthcare services.

The HSE said that while EDs are open, people should not go there unless absolutely necessary.

In hospitals, all inpatient and day surgeries, other than cancer surgeries, have been cancelled over the 24-hour period, while all outpatient appointments have also been cancelled.

Services operating normally include maternity services, dialysis services and oncology services. Inpatient wards are also operating as normal.

In the community, services that are not operating include public day centres where nurses are employed, which cater for people with disabilities or older people. Routine community nursing services and health centre clinics involving nurses are also not operating.

However, some services in the community are operating, including palliative care.

This marks only the second time that INMO members have gone on strike in the organisation's 100-year history. The last strike was in 1999.

"No nurse or midwife wants to go on strike, but we have been forced into this position by a Government that just isn't listening," commented INMO industrial relations director, Tony Fitzpatrick.


[Posted: Mon 28/01/2019]


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