Up to 700 nurses still owed thousands after agreeing new pay scheme

Up to 700 nurses still owed thousands after agreeing new pay scheme

Nurses picketing outside Cork University Hospital in Cork City in 2019 as part of their third 24-hour work stoppage by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation. Picture: David Creedon / Anzenberger

Up to 700 nurses are still owed thousands of euro by Cork University Hospital from an enhanced pay scheme agreed with the Government almost 18 months ago.

The amounts of between €3,000 and €6,000 due to each nurse were agreed after the February 2019 national nurses strike.

Although more than 30,000 nurses nationally are entitled to it, many who work at CUH are still owed money.

While almost all of them were put on the new enhanced rate of pay over the past six weeks, they are still owed arrears due from between the date the deal was struck to the date it was implemented.

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) industrial relations officer for CUH, Liam Conway, said: “CUH is being remarkably sluggish when it comes to implementing the pay settlement. It shouldn’t be an uphill struggle for frontline nurses to be paid what they’re owed.”

One CUH nurse said: “It is disgusting. We have never worked so hard, and we have never put our lives at risk in the way we have, day in and day out, since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. Yet, despite everything we have done — it is outrageous that the hospital can’t even bother to pay us right."

In April, the Irish Examiner revealed that the INMO had found that of the 37 hospitals where nurses were entitled to surgical and medical ward allowances, only around 12 had implemented them.

While in Opposition, and Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on health, current health minister Stephen Donnelly said it was “simply not credible” for the Government to applaud frontline workers while “refusing to implement an agreed pay and allowances deal”.

He said at the time that then-health minister Simon Harris should explain why the enhanced pay scheme had not happened and “immediately make sure it is implemented”.

In response to questions about arrears owed to CUH nurses now, he told the Irish Examiner last night: "My department continues to monitor progress implementing all measures arising from the nursing agreement. The HSE has made substantial progress despite difficulties posed by Covid-19.

"Officials from my department are in regular contact with the HSE concerning actions they are taking to further assist with this rollout.

"The department would like to reassure nurses and midwives due to benefit from this measure that all monies due to them shall be paid to them."

"I am committed to the full implementation of the nursing agreement.”

CUH said “all nursing-related agreements” are in the process of “being progressed”.

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