Government’s refusal to address concerns 'driving nurses towards industrial action' - Louise O'Reilly TD
Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said the overwhelming rejection by members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) of government pay proposals, is the inevitable outcome of the government’s refusal to take the concerns of nurses and midwives and the recruitment and retention crisis seriously.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“For years now, nurses, midwives and their Unions have highlighted the recruitment and retention crisis in the health service and they have proposed reasonable and responsible solutions on how to address it.
“Yet, there has been complete disengagement from government on the issue, even when it came to the Public Service Pay Commission report.
“Therefore, it is little wonder that the nurses and midwives belonging to the INMO have voted by 94% to reject the governments pay proposals.
“Nurses and midwives have been flagging the issue of recruitment and retention for years, but it has fallen on deaf ears in government buildings.
“In recent years the work and dedication of Irish nurses has been taken for granted with successive Ministers of Health failing to understand or address their situation.
"They have also failed to address the reasonable requests they have made for better working conditions, better facilities, more supports, increased training opportunities, and for the issue of pay to be addressed.
“In the midst of a nursing and midwifery recruitment and retention crisis, in which there is only one application for every four nursing jobs advertised, the government should be focusing on addressing the causes of this crisis and keeping staff.
"Instead they are ignoring the concerns of nurses and midwives and forcing them towards having to undertake industrial action.
“It is not too late to broker a resolution but the government must be willing to listen and take seriously the pay concerns of nurses and midwives.
“The Oireachtas passed a resolution in April of this year supporting nurses and midwives. It clearly called on the government to introduce recruitment and retention measures based on realistic proposals which must prioritise pay.
“The government must engage with nurses and midwives and their unions as a matter of urgency and ensure that their concerns are addressed and industrial action can be averted.
“If nurses and midwives are forced to take industrial action then on the head of this government be it.”