More than 10,000 nurses yet to receive their agreed €5.5k pay deal

More than 10,000 nurses have yet to receive thousands of euro in pay and allowances due them since last March.
More than 10,000 nurses yet to receive their agreed €5.5k pay deal
General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha from the INMO -Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation- trade union attending the discussions. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

By Neil Michael, Cianan Brennan, Aoife Moore and Paul Hosford

More than 10,000 nurses have yet to receive thousands of euro in pay and allowances due them since last March.

They include the “frontline heroes” working in the acute hospital Intensive Care Units so frequently championed by Minister of Health Simon Harris.

Deals of up to €5,500-a-year for around 30,000 staff nurses and midwives were agreed last March after the nurses strike early in 2019.

The deals are made up of enhanced pay scales for nurses and allowances.

Only a small number of hospitals have implemented the pay and allowances deals in full.

For example, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), of the 37 hospitals where nurses are entitled to €2,230-a-year surgical and medical ward allowances, just 12 hospitals have implemented them.

In total, some 5,000 nurses are entitled to those allowances.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Health Simon Harris and HSE CEO Paul Reid visit the HSE Covid19 Assessment Unit set up at Dublin City University.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Health Simon Harris and HSE CEO Paul Reid visit the HSE Covid19 Assessment Unit set up at Dublin City University.

Fianna Fail Health Spokesperson Stephen Donnelly, who is to raise the matter in the Dáil, said last night: “Before Covid-19 arrived, it was not acceptable that an agreement that had been reached was not honoured.

"It is simply not credible where the same government applauding frontline workers is refusing to implement an agreed pay and allowances deal.

“Health Minister Simon Harris needs to explain why it has not happened and to immediately make sure it is implemented.”

An Intensive Care Unit nurse at Cork University Hospital told the Irish Examiner: “The public’s support has been amazing. However, we have not seen a penny of any wage increase due to us.

“Our families like everyone else have been financially impacted by this pandemic. Instead of politicians and HSE senior management thanking us by applause and tweets we’d much prefer the enhanced salary scale that was agreed last year.”

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “Allowances and salary scales are agreed nationally.

“Nurses and midwives are not seeking anything extra during this crisis – merely to be paid what is owed. We have been banging on the door of many of these employers, only to be met with delay and excuses."

General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha from the INMO -Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation- trade union attending the discussions. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie
General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha from the INMO -Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation- trade union attending the discussions. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

“Nurses and midwives are at the frontlines of the fight against Covid-19. While they’re taking risks on the frontline, they’re being short changed by their employers.

“We have met the Minister for Health, and called on him to direct the employers to pay what is owed to nurses and midwives in their next pay cheque.”

It comes as figures a further 31 people have died from the virus in Ireland, bringing the overall toll to 1,190.

An additional 376 additional confirmed cases brings Ireland’s overall total of confirmed infections to 20,253.

New figures released by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) last night also revealed that just under one in five deaths in nursing homes since the beginning of January resulted from Covid-19 infections.

Of 3,244 deaths in such residential settings since the beginning of the year, 586 resulted from either confirmed or probable cases of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the rate of deaths and new cases of Covid-19 are not low enough to loosen restrictions.

He said that, although "things may change by Friday", he doesn’’t believe Ireland is headed for a reopening, and added the Government hopes to share their plan for lifting "certainly over the weekend".

It is expected that some outside businesses including construction sites and landscaping businesses will be able to resume work if they can guarantee social distancing guidelines.

The Government is also expected to issue new guidance advising people to wear face coverings in situations where social distancing is difficult.

The current advice from Ireland’’s Chief Medical Officer is that one should only wear a face covering when instructed to do so by a doctor.

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