The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has overwhelmingly rejected pay proposals to address staff shortages in the health sector.
The INMO announced that 94% of its members have rejected the proposals and their Executive Council will consider industrial action at their next meeting on November 5.
The proposals by the Public Service Pay Stability Agreement involved an increase in some allowances and a reduction in the number of years required to become a senior staff nurse.
They said that nurses and midwives have rejected the proposals because they will not resolve the crisis which "sees high reliance on agency and foreign recruitment" in order to provide minimal staffing levels which nurses and midwives say are compromising safe patient care.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “The clear message we have received from our members is that they feel abandoned and put upon by being forced to care for an increasing number of patients in poor and dangerous working conditions due to understaffing because of an inability to attract and retain nurses and midwives in our public health service.
"The HSE, this year, have failed to produce a funded workforce plan identifying the numbers of nurses they were prepared to recruit in the year 2018. There are over 1,100 vacant positions on a daily basis.”
Ms Ni Sheaghdha pointed out that Government have not spoken directly with the organisation and said: “We now require direct dialogue with government if a dispute is to be avoided.”