The 100th Annual Delegate Conference of INMO was held in Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim, Co Meath last week over three days. Representatives from our branches and sections were present and participated fully in debates which will set the policy of the union for the next 12 months.
1. Emergency motions
There were two very important emergency motions debated in the context of the recent settlement of our dispute. The first, proposed by the Cork HSE Branch, sought that the organisation engage with strike committees and branches to review the guidelines for industrial action issued and endorsed by conference 2017 in the context of the recent dispute. The review will seek to determine whether changes or amendments are needed. Conference fully endorsed this proposal and the Executive Council at its June meeting will move to immediately implement it. This will involve regional meetings of branches and strike committees over the next number of months to arrive at a proposal which will be considered by all members at ADC 2020.
The second emergency motion was proposed by the Executive Council. It commended the excellent work of strike committees who organised a safe but effective nationwide strike on three full 24-hour periods over two weeks.
It recorded the acceptance by members through a secret ballot on the proposals recently secured via two Labour Court Recommendations following negotiation and argument before the Court. Conference directed that the organisation immediately focusses on implementation and called on Government to fulfil its commitment to an efficient and speedy implementation of all elements of the agreement, in the interests of safe staffing and the recruitment and retention measures now agreed.
The motion emphasised that equal weight had to be given to the rollout of the safe staffing framework, the improvements to pay and allowances and the setting up of the expert review group, with particular emphasis on promotional grades within the professions.
This motion further called on the HSE to agree with the INMO a robust implementation strategy at hospital and community health care organisational level with the full involvement of INMO representatives in our workplaces overseeing implementation.
Both emergency motions were carried unanimously.
1. The Extension of the Nurse task force on Nurse staffing to care of the elderly and community health care as phase 3 of this framework, (phase 1 is completed and measures staffing requirements in surgical and medical areas, phase 2 looks at the staffing requirements in Emergency floor and is currently at pilot stage)
2. Confirmation that Government via the HSE and Department of Health are committed to offering permanent posts to all graduating Nurses in 2019.
A full copy of the minister’s speech will also be published in the next addition of the World of Irish Nursing and can be found here.
Our President Ms Martina Harkin-Kelly responded to the Minister
reminding him that implementation of the agreement made in good faith was now expected in a manner that was both focused and immediate. The President criticised the HSE’s introduction of the recruitment pause during the ballot and made it clear that INMO would not accept this recruitment pause. The issue has already been raised as a grievance with the HSE and will be pursued fully.
Referring to the Minister’s acceptance in his speech of the shortage of nurses and midwives and the crises it presents for the Irish Public Health Service, any interference or delay to recruitment of nurses and midwives is unacceptable, she said. The full text of Martina’s speech will also be carried in the next issues of the World of Irish Nursing, also can be found here.
2. Implementation of Labour Court proposals.
The first meeting with the HSE, Department of Health and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform relating to the implementation of the proposals will take place on Monday, 20th May 2019 and updates to members will issue to advise members of progress.
Priority areas for implementation are:
- allowances and increases to salary via Enhanced practice scale - 1st March 2019 is the agreed date for the increase to and extension of allowances and incremental dates are the date for the enhanced practice salary scale to apply. Theses dates are important and will form part of this first meeting as the HSE will be required to issue a circular of instruction to all payroll departments to commence this process. It is important that all staff nurse members familiarise themselves with their current incremental point, and any allowances they are on to ensure that they are correctly paid at present. During the balloting several members found that they had not been placed on the correct incremental point. If in doubt, please contact our information office and they will advise as will any of our industrial relations officers
- The task force on nurse staffing on surgical and medical areas - the funding secured as part of these proposal: €5 million allocated 2019, must now be honoured and rolled out to the agreed locations to ensure implementation at ward level. This will be the commencement of safe staffing measurements based on patient dependency in the republic of Ireland.
- The establishment of and appointment of personnel to the expert review group as agreed as part of these proposal to examine Nurse manager salaries and review the profession as set out in the Labour Court recommendation.
It is our view that these priority areas must be addressed immediately, and we are now fully determined that the employer will be held to the agreements brokered as part of the Labour Court recommendations.
Members are encouraged to get active in their branches in order to collectively ensure the full implementation of the proposals brokered inclusive of phase 2 the expert review of nursing and midwifery, with particular focus on management grades.
3. Centenary Celebrations 2019
On Friday 10th May at the Annual delegate conference we celebrated the 100th year anniversary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation by launching formally the history of the organisation, “A Century of Service”, written by Mr Mark Loughery. Mark is a research nurse at University College Cork. Mark gave an overview of his work which was warmly received by all delegates and the World of Irish Nursing will carry a full account of the presentations made in its next issue.
The Agreement begins the process of significant change in nursing and midwifery. Government must honour it and INMO will insist on nothing less: we request and require membership participation in the implementation phase and while these proposals do not solve all of the issues we face, they do, commence the process of improvement which we must now build upon.
We intend to continue until all Nurse and Midwifery staffing levels are fully determined by patient dependency and insulated against financial fluctuations. Entry grade staff Nurse will be a better paid grade with renumeration reflecting responsibility, allowances will increase and extend to many more members and crucially when combined with Safe Staffing a real opportunity exists to recruit and retain the numbers necessary to practice safely. The expert review will focus on promotion and clinical experts’ posts and must ensure these posts are attractive options for Nurses and Midwives. It is now time to move forward together towards a brighter future for our professions and the Public Health Service.
PHIL Ni SHEAGHDHA