Unions have today called on nursing graduates to boycott a new HSE recruitment scheme, which plans to recruit 1,000 graduates on a lower payscale.
The HSE want to hire the graduates and pay them an annual salary of €22,000 - a 20% pay cut.
In Croke Park today, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association and the Psychiatric Nurses Association rallied with members from across the country to condemn the move as "cynical" and "unjust".
Speaking at the event, Peter Hughes of the Psychiatric Nurses Association said the HSE's new payscale is grossly unfair.
"Twenty-two thousand equates to approximately €11 an hour, and no disrespect to anyone in the hospitality industry … but people in fast-food restaurants are earning that type of money without having to study for four years or have the responsibility of a nurse, which is a lot of responsibility," he said.
"I think that this is a serious attack by the HSE and the Minister on the nursing profession."