Nurses dispute referred to WRC after 'deeply disappointing' meeting

Nurses dispute referred to WRC after 'deeply disappointing' meeting
General Secretary of the INMO, Phil Ní Sheaghdha

Latest: With just over a week to the nurses' strike, their representative organisations have referred the dispute to the Workplace Relations Commission.

Preparations for the series of 24-hour strikes that commence on Wednesday, January 30, are continuing.

Representatives of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and the Psychiatric Nurses Association met with officials from the HSE and Department of Health in Dublin yesterday.

Afterwards, INMO general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said it was a “deeply disappointing” meeting.

“The employer made no proposals to avert the upcoming strike,” she said.

“We have referred the health employers to the Workplace Relations Commission and they have agreed to attend. Preparations for the strike continue. There are now nine days until Ireland's nurses and midwives go on strike. It's time for the Government to get real and make serious proposals to resolve this.”

A PNA spokesperson confirmed that they have also referred health employers to the WRC which does not comment on ongoing disputes.

The INMO's 40,000-plus members will stage six 24-hour strikes on January 30 and on February 5, 7, 12, 13 and 14.

The PNA's 6,000 members will refuse to do overtime on January 31 and on February 1, 5, 6 and 7 and will take strike action in tandem with the INMO on February 12, 13 and 14.

The nurses want a 12% pay rise to address the recruitment and retention crisis in nursing.

Meanwhile, the HSE is reporting that 362 patients were on trolleys in emergency departments awaiting a hospital bed yesterday - a 10% decrease on last year when there were 403.

According to the INMO's Trolley Watch, there were 486 patients on trolleys in EDs and on wards.

University Hospital Limerick had the highest number, with 44, followed by Cork University Hospital which had 38.

CUH said the number of patients affected by flu continues to rise and the hospital is continuing to impose visitor restrictions.

Earlier (16:52): Nursing unions say the Government and the HSE have still not come forward with concrete proposals on resolving their row over pay and conditions.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and the Psychiatric Nurses Association held three hours of talks with the HSE earlier but failed to reach an agreement.

The dispute has been referred to the Workplace Relations Commission.

Planned strike action by 43,000 nurses will go ahead as planned, beginning on January 30.

General Secretary of the INMO, Phil Ní Sheaghdha claims the Government doesn’t appear to be serious about resolving the issue.

"The dispute is due to commence in nine days' time. It is possibly one of the biggest disputes the State has seen in some time, particularly in the health service," she said.

"It is unfortunate that the approach of Government and the approach of the employer seems to be that they're just not that interested in coming forward with a resolution."

She added that there will be a bare minimum level of cover in hospitals on the day of the strike.

"All elective procedures, all outpatients will be cancelled. The timing of is was what we were discussing this morning.

"The employers understand that once nurses withdraw their labour, they can't cope with anything other than the bare emergencies that will be required to be provided in the health service."

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