Kathleen Burke, from the Limerick Branch said that the government ’s graduate scheme, which sees new employees on a two-year contract at 80% of the first point on the staff nurse/midwife pay scale “undermines the value of nursing and midwifery within the Irish healthcare service.
“The new graduate, as a registered nurse and midwife, must carry out the full range of responsibilities pertaining to their respective roles. These duties and responsibilities are the same as those of registered nurses and midwives already in employment on a previously set pay scale,” she said.
Ms Burke was proposing the motion that ‘Conference resolves to condemn the manner by which the professional role of the nurse and midwife is being undermined by the HSE and the Department of Health, in their current initiative, to recruit one thousand graduates without payment of the appropriate salary’.
“The INMO Executive Council has declared this discredited initiative as nothing more than an attempt to employ nurses and midwives as cheap labour and we in the Limerick Branch concur with this,” she added.
Lorraine O’Connor from the Cork HSE Branch also endorsed the motion and challenged the HSE to address the issue with the INMO at the Labour Relations Commission.
“We have right on our side and the goodwill of the public on this matter and the issue is not going away. Our graduates deserve fairness and equity and this must be part of any agreement going forward.”
Colette O’Sullivan, from the Clonakilty/Skibbereen Branch said that graduates were “diamonds” and should be “treasured” as such.
“Shame on James Reilly who suggested they should serve burgers. Please support this motion and let’s keep our precious diamonds in our country where we need them so badly,” she urged.
Anne Price from the Waterford Branch spoke about the calibre of graduates, their loss to the Irish health services and the valuable resource that we were exporting.
“They are way ahead of nurses who have graduated in England and they are taking charge of the wards in England and we are pushing them out of this country,” she said.
Allison O’Connell of the Executive Council spoke about her daughter Emma who graduated as a nurse in 2009 but had to go to London to get work and is now In Australia.
She said that even though she missed her enormously she would not want her to take one of the new graduate positions to come back to Ireland. “I urge you to value what we have, value what we do and put a proper price on our graduates and the service they provide. Do not agree, ever, to sell yourself short and do it for 80%.”
Aisling Maher (pictured above left), a 2012 graduate and student nurse representative on the Executive Council, took the opportunity to thank the INMO’s nurse and midwife body for their solidarity with students on this issue.
Aoife Gallagher ((pictured above right) from the Letterkenny Branch who has 17 weeks left to run on her internship said that thanks to Minister Reilly she had already decided to emigrate in pursuit of her career.
“ I ’ve already bought my ticket to leave this country because of the disgraceful scheme that Minister Reilly has put to us. I give 100% at work. I am 100% liable to An Bord Altranais and the HSE, do I not deserve 100% pay?” she argued.
Speaking on the issue, Liam Doran, INMO general secretary, said that the issue was still very much alive and he re-iterated the INMO’s appreciation and thanks to the 2012 graduate group for their wholesale participation in the boycott of the graduate scheme.
He said that if this issue is not resolved they will have another “huge challenge” in September/October. He said that if the HSE leave this “flawed, disgraceful, yellow pack, opportunistic and scurrilous initiative” on the table then those desperate to find work in Ireland may be forced into acceptance of the programme.
“ If there is any waning towards the rightness of this, can I just remind everyone, that if this programme got embedded, then that is the staff nurse salary rate in this country full stop. They will never employ again someone with three or four years experience. They will roll over the programme and the only staff nurse positions that will become available are the ones on 80%.”
“This has ripples that will turn into tidal waves, if we don’t address it, and arrest it and keep it from taking root,” he added.
The motion was put to the floor and carried unanimously.
|ADC - Delegates condemn 80% graduate pay plan|