Cork nurses and midwives tell government: 'The more they ignore us, the louder we'll get'

Cork nurses and midwives tell government: 'The more they ignore us, the louder we'll get'
Midwifes Jocelynn Coughlan, Lynda Moore and Geraldine O'Driscoll picketing outside Cork University Hospital in Cork City today. Photo :David Creedon / Anzenberger

Nurses and midwives in Cork say they are prepared to escalate their action until the government is willing to talk about pay and conditions.

INMO members are engaged in their third day of strike action.

Huge numbers joined the picket at CUH to be greeted by the sound of beeping cars and gifts from supportive businesses.

From those on the picket line, the message remains the same: engage in negotiations and improve conditions or the strike action will continue.

Despite the strike action impacting nearly 80,000 patient appointments nationally in the last week, INMO members say there has been no drop in support from the public.

Liam Conway, the industrial relations officer with the INMO in Cork, said they have no intention of backing down.

"There are hundreds out in Cork and thousands nationally. We will not go back inside until there is a good outcome in terms of pay, retention and conditions," he said.

"It is clear that the public values their nurses and midwives and that Leo Varadkar and Paschal Donohoe don't. The policy of non-engagement is not good enough."

Joy Beardsworth, a student midwife who will be qualified in September, aid that her peers are simply not considering staying for the long-term due to the working conditions that they face.

"When I qualify, I will stay and build up experience for a short period of time but I do myself travelling to somewhere like Amsterdam," she said.

"The pay is better, there is lower rent, the cost of living is better and there is better midwifery programmes.

There are lot of others talking about the United Arab Emirates, Australia and the UK. People might stay here for three, six or even twelve months, but they are all talking about leaving.

For many on the picket line, attentions now turn to Saturday's march in Dublin and then three further days of strike action next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Midwife Naomi O'Donovan said that they are prepared to keep going for as long as it takes.

"It is ramping up: the more they ignore us, the louder we will get," she said.

"The support is there. Our patients respect us and the public respects us, even if our government doesn't."

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