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Newly appointed nurses and midwives deserve equal treatment

20 December, 2012 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has criticised proposals to offer reduced pay conditions to a new intake of nurses and midwives in the new year.

The Sinn Féin workers’ rights spokesperson stated it was not acceptable that they were expected to do the same work as their colleagues for lower pay.

Speaking in the Seanad today Senator Cullinane criticised the HSE decision and offered his support to the INMO and PNA campaign against these reduced conditions.

He said;

“According to the INMO, on Friday December the 14th, the HSE issued a memo to all directors of nursing, directing them to withdraw the contracts they had given to newly qualified nurses and midwives from the 2012 group.

“This will have the effect of making hundreds of nurses unemployed, so that the HSE can then re-employ them in February on a reduced two year contract of 22,000pa.

“This is utterly immoral, and constitutes very sharp practice by the HSE. These graduate nurses should be entitled to existing pay and conditions.

“Three short years ago, in 2009, a graduate nurse could expect a starting salary of €33,470, so this represents a 34% reduction in just three years. Meanwhile in London, graduate nurses can expect a starting salary of £27,000 (€33,146). The INMO has warned that there is every possibility that many graduates will choose to emigrate rather than being exploited. There is a clear need for additional nurses and midwives in the healthcare system, and they are deserving of better treatment than this.

“The INMO and PSA held a press conference today on the matter, and have signalled that they will be resisting the efforts of the HSE to exploit graduate nurses, and they will have Sinn Féin’s full support in that regard.”

Senator Cullinane also stated that young workers and new entrants generally are being disproportionately targeted by the government.

“As we have seen numerous times, it is young workers and new entrants to public sector who are taking the hit. We have seen the same with Teachers, and with Junior Doctors and elsewhere.

“While these workers are being expected to tolerate lesser pay and conditions, the government is singularly failing to address excessive pay at the higher levels of the public sector. The Government should be focusing on lowering the wage bill at that level, rather than exploiting young workers.”


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