Nurse students to protest over pay cuts

[Posted: Tue 08/02/2011 by Deborah Condon – www.irishhealth.com]

Nurse and midwife students will be taking part in lunchtime protests at 13 hospitals across the country tomorrow.

The action forms part of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Orgnaisation’s (INMO) campaign to reverse pay cuts aimed at working fourth year pre-registration nurses and midwives. These health professionals replace paid qualified staff on wards for the final nine months of their degree programme.

However, the government has decided to phase out their pay over the next four years and pay them nothing from 2015 onwards. This means they will be expected to work full-time, providing direct patient care, for no wage.

According to the INMO, the government made this decision without any consultation and it is a breach of a national agreement.

Tomorrow’s protest will coincide with talks at the Labout Relations Commision (LRC) on this issue. The INMO is seeking a reversal of these pay cuts as it insists they are in breach of the Croke Park agreement and the EU directive on information and consultation.

The protests will be attended by pre-registration nurses/midwives and students from all four years of the undergraduate programme. They will also be supported by qualified colleagues. However, there will be no disruption to patient services, the INMO insisted.

Following the lunchtime protests, the next phase of the campaign will be a protest march and rally, to be held on February 16 at 11.30am in Parnell Square, Dublin. The march will proceed to the Department of Health where a letter, calling on the in-coming Minister for Health to reverse this decision, will be handed in.

Following these two days of action, if there is no resolution, the INMO will ballot all 4th year pre-registration nurses and midwives for a withdrawal of labour, with industrial action commencing in early March.

“The INMO will continue with its campaign of action until these cuts are reversed. This proposal devalues, to the level of slave labour, the nature of the essential direct care given during this 36-week rostered placement. No one can seriously expect people to work the full roster and range of duties, while replacing qualified staff, for no pay,” commented INMO general secretary, Liam Doran.

The 13 hospitals where lunchtime protests are due to take place on Wednesday, from 12.30pm to 1.30pm, are: 
– Tralee General Hospital 
– Mayo General Hospital
– Cork University Hospital 
– Mid West Regional Hospital, Limerick
– University Hospital Galway
– Tullamore General Hospital
– St James Hospital, Dublin 
– St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin
– Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 
– Waterford Regional Hospital 
– Sligo Regional Hospital
– Letterkenny General Hospital
– Louth County Hospital, Dundalk

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