Pandemic Payment, Sectoral Bargaining, Building Momentum, Review of Mileage and Subsistence Rates,
Solidarity with Ukrainian Nurses and Midwives
Pandemic Payment Update
Resulting from the INMO claim for compensation for nurses and midwives and the subsequent claim by the health sector group of trade unions the Government announced a €1,000 payment for Healthcare Workers on the 19th of January 2022. This announcement stated that engagement with the trade unions would then commence in relation to the payment process. the INMO and other Health Sector Unions immediately sought engagement with the HSE and the Department of Health on the application of the scheme.
The HSE and the Department of Health outlined that they did not want to meet the Unions until they had drafted up papers on the proposals. These papers were finally shared with the Unions on the 3rd of March 2022, which was six weeks after the announcement. The Unions have met with the HSE and outlined that the proposal in its present format is unworkable, bureaucratic, and unfair, and needs to be amended.
The Unions are due to meet with the HSE and the Department of Health again next Monday the 21st of March 2022 and we have outlined to the employer’s side the necessity to agree on a simplified fair process on that date. The HSE and the Department of Health have wasted eight weeks since the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health announced the Bonus Payment. Their proposal in its present format is unacceptable. The Unions are strongly of the view that the HSE has not been loyal to what the Government announced, as it limits the application of the bonus. This matter needs to be brought to a conclusion at the scheduled meeting on the 21st of March 2022 to ensure that members are paid immediately.
As well as the INMO and other health service unions raising this as a matter to be corrected we would also urge members to contact their local public representatives, if possible, over this weekend to emphasise the frustration felt by frontline workers, that yet another promise is delayed and diluted. Members should advise them that the government announcement to pay €1000 tax-free to all frontline health care workers must not now be diminished. A sample letter is available to members here.
Sectoral Bargaining Update:
As you are aware the Sectoral Bargaining Fund is to be utilised to pay a 3.28% increase to promotional grades to address the pay differential that was narrowed because of the introduction of the Enhanced Salary Scale. None of the Sectoral Bargaining Units for Healthcare Workers in the Health Service have concluded at this stage. It has been confirmed that the increases due will apply retrospectively to the 1st of February 2022. The matters necessary to conclude these processes are to be discussed at a DPER/Congress meeting on the 31st of March 2022.
Unions seek review of Building Momentum considering cost-of-living increases
The INMO Executive Council on Tuesday of this week, joined the calls of other public sector unions in calling for pay terms of Building Momentum to be reviewed considering spiralling cost-of-living increases. Since the Building Momentum public sector pay deal was agreed we have seen sharp increases in inflation, the cost of renting and buying a home, fuel costs, home heating and electricity. As many private sector employers prepare to increase wages to help stem the worst of the impact of inflation, the public sector must do the same.
In our call for a review, the INMO and other public sector unions highlighted the real issues nurses and midwives face as wages are eroded by high inflation, the real consequences on recruitment of these essential workers of increasing rent and accommodation shortages, and the everyday effects of increased parking and fuel costs. The current public service agreement Building Momentum allows as all national agreements do, for a review of economic circumstances to change, in this case, the evidence is clear, and the need to engage immediately is absolutely necessary.
Furthermore, the INMO Executive Council made it clear that all of the outstanding matters still under consideration by the government, including the report of the Working Hours body, recommending a return to the 37.5-hour week for nurses and midwives, the report from the Expert Review Group on Nursing and Midwifery and the sectoral bargaining process to complete the correction of differential for nurse managers’ pay, must be implemented in full before any successor agreement is considered by INMO members.
Review of Mileage and Subsistence Rates:
The INMO has raised with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Public Services Committee the concerns of our members regarding the increasing cost of using your own car for work, and the need to review mileage and subsistence rates. This matter was raised by the INMO at a meeting on the 11th of March 2022 and we are advised that a review of mileage and subsistence has now commenced.
Solidarity with Ukrainian Nurses and Midwives
Like many of you, we watched in horror at maternity hospitals and other healthcare facilities being attacked in Ukraine over the past two weeks. Our members stand in full solidarity with the nurses, midwives, and other medical professionals who are working despite the war raging in Ukraine. The protection and safety of the health workforce and health systems are paramount and enshrined in international law. We call on all parties involved in the conflict and the international community to do everything in their power to protect the safety of nurses, midwives, and all health care workers who often put themselves in mortal danger to care for others. Please see the statement of solidarity issued today here. The INMO Executive Council also approved at their meeting on Tuesday a solidarity payment from INMO to the International Red Cross. This donation will issue in the name of all members of the INMO to the International Red Cross today.
ICTU Letter - 16th March 2020 Financial Support for Humanitarian Assistance in Ukraine
Finally, I would like to remind all members who are eligible to vote in the Executive Council election to cast your vote before the closing date of 29th March and be part of the democratic process to select the Executive Council of the INMO for the incoming term May 2022- May 2024.
Phil Ni Sheaghdha
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