herald

Thursday 12 December 2019

Nurses open talks over pay deal as paramedics strike

PNA chief Peter Hughes
PNA chief Peter Hughes

Talks have begun between the main nurses' union and employers on drawing up a new contract which is at the centre of a proposed pay deal.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) suspended its strike last month following the Labour Court recommendation which will see nurses offered a new enhanced salary scale by the HSE, with higher payments.

The new contract will have to contain an agreement by nurses to concede some productivity gains and it remains to be seen how far this will be pushed.

Anniversary

The union celebrated its 100th anniversary yesterday in Dublin's Mansion House - the site of the organisation's first public meeting in 1919, at a reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

It began life as the Irish Nurses Union, primarily to improve pay and set professional standards. It was said to be the world's first trade union for hospital nurses and was initially a branch of the Irish Women Workers' Union.

In the 1930s it became the Irish Nurses Organisation (INO), affiliating with the International Council of Nurses. In 1990, it affiliated with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

In 2010, it changed its name to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, to reflect the increasing professional and legal distinctions between nurses and midwives.

Meanwhile, up to 500 paramedics who are members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) began a two-day strike as part of their long-running campaign for union recognition.

The Army was on standby and will also have be available again today to ensure safety.

Voted

Peter Hughes, PNA general secretary, said ambulance personnel members voted overwhelmingly for industrial action to pursue their basic demand to join, and be represented by, the union of their choice.

"The HSE has made absolutely no effort to address or resolve this dispute, and has now forced professional and highly trained ambulance personnel into the unprecedented position of mounting a two-day strike.

"The HSE has chosen to ignore repeated offers to attend the Work Relations Commission," he said.

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