Following a meeting of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s Executive Council, they have endorsed participation in a public service wide campaign to address the cost of living issues arising for its members.
This comes as the Government have deferred further discussions on reviewing the current Building Momentum Public Service Agreement. Pay talks ended without agreement in mid-June after the Government offered an additional increase of just 2.5% for the 2021-2022 period of the current agreement. Public sector unions believe this to be inadequate when inflation now seems likely to be over 10% in that period.
The INMO will commence a public information campaign among members about the current state of pay talks and their options going forward.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“The INMO Executive have today endorsed the ICTU public service pay campaign. Our Executive have instructed that a campaign of information for members be commenced after the ICTU Public Sector Committee meet on Wednesday with a view to participate in this public service campaign up to and including industrial action if necessary.
“Today’s ESRI report into public workforce requirements in public acute hospitals recommends that we are going to need up to an additional 8,868 nurses and midwives in the next thirteen years, the Government needs to take recruitment and retention measures seriously, that includes ensuring an attractive renumeration package for nurses and midwives. We know that there is currently a crisis in staffing in many areas including public health nursing. We need to see a sense of urgency from Government and the HSE to solve this issue.
“The path for implementing agreements to improve the lot of nurses and midwives is littered with drawn out and delayed rollout.
“The public sector carried this country through an incredibly bleak and uncertain pandemic. Governments response to this reality must reflect the impact on retention of essential staff the cost of living increases are having.
INMO President Karen McGowan added:
“There is a cost to being a nurse or a midwife before we even cross the threshold of our places of work – nurses and midwives do not have an option to work from home one or two days a week, when we are rostered in, we are expected to show up. There is a significant cost when you have to drive to and from work for every shift. Nurses and midwives are driving lengthy distances because it is becoming impossible to afford a home to buy or rent near our places of work. This is not just an urban phenomenon.
“Nurses and midwives must be paid better for their skills that are sought after right across the world. It is time the Government recognised that the cost of living crisis is seriously impacting our ability to keep nurses within the health system.”