Health service unions formally invited to new round of public sector pay talks

Health service unions formally invited to new round of public sector pay talks

Update 6pm: Unions have been formally invited to take part in a new round of public sector pay talks.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe is seeking an extension of the Lansdowne Road Agreement, and the unwinding of austerity-era pay cuts.

Earlier, unions representing healthcare workers said the talks must address the difficulties with staff recruitment and retention.

The INMO, PNA and IMO have called for incentives to stop nurses, doctors and midwives from leaving HSE jobs.

Liam Doran is the General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation: "We have 70 odd less nurses working in our health system than we did a year ago despite efforts to recruit.

"I'm not saying the health service is not trying to recruit, but while we are recruiting, we are not retaining.

"Our new graduates are walking away because they are not being offered jobs, so we have a real problem and that real problem has at its core, pay.

"I'm saying this process must address this issue."

Earlier; Unions representing doctors and nurses have told the Government to "get their heads out of the sand" on the recruitment crisis in healthcare.

The Irish Medical Organisation, the INMO and the Psychiatric Nurses Association met earlier to discuss the public sector pay commission report.

The three unions represent about half of the total health service and a sixth of the public service as a whole.

They released a joint statement earlier in which they said no Government measures to fix healthcare will work unless the healthcare system is properly staffed.

INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said it needs to be an efficient process.

He said: "The clock is ticking, the time is short and a meandering process that delivers nothing will not suffice."

Susan Clyne from the IMO said their goal is making sure consultants get the same rates as they would abroad.

She said: "We want parity with their established consultant colleagues, that is a key issue.

"For the younger doctors, we do need to look at new contract provisions, new training and education supports."

PNA General Secretary Peter Hughes had his own sector in mind.

He said: "We have seen that mental health services are in crisis over the last 10 years and more.

"We believe it is time to address it now and there is no more time to be wasted."

The three unions are agreed that pay and conditions for nurses, midwives and doctors need to improve to stem the tide of healthcare workers leaving Ireland.

They said that will be their priority in pay talks.


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