Firms ‘cannot adjust’ agency nurses’ pay

The country’s largest nursing union has warned companies with agency nurses that they have no right to impose the terms of the Haddington Road Agreement on those nurses.

In letters to three companies, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s (INMO) director of industrial relations, says she wants to “correct the assumption” that the cuts are automatically applicable to agency nurses.

“As the employer of agency nurses you are a private company,” she wrote to TTM Healthcare, CPL Healthcare, and Nurse on Call.

“The Haddington Road proposals are a collective agreement for employees of the public service... It is the INMO’s position that you cannot adjust the rate of pay of any agency nurse as you do not have the authority.”

In a later letter in response to correspondence from Nurse on Call, Ms Ní Sheaghdha warns that if it cuts nurses’ pay “we will pursue the right to object”.

A spokesman for Nurse on Call said: “The introduction of the Agency Workers Directive in May 2012 required agency workers to be paid at least as much as directly employed workers. At the time this resulted in an average approximate 15% increase in the rates of pay to agency nurses.

“Under Haddington Road the INMO negotiated and agreed... an effective reduction in rates for their own members. Nurse on Call does not determine rates of pay but sources and offers work at the rates of pay offered by clients, which in any case cannot be less than their own directly employed nurses.

“Where clients have adopted the Haddington Road rates, these are the rates that are offered by the client to agency staff. A small number of clients have chosen not to implement the Haddington Road rates, and in these cases, the old rates continue to be paid.”

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