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Nurses cancel action after court intervention

General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation Phil Ni Sheaghdha. photo.


By Anthony Neeson

A strike by 40,000 Irish nurses has been called off after recommendations from the Labour Court aimed at resolving the pay dispute.

The court has recommended that thousands of nurses be able to move to enhanced pay-scale salaries of €35,806 upwards.

Nurses and midwives had been striking over pay and staff shortages after the government had refused a special pay deal for nurses. The nurses were insisting on pay parity with other graduated health professionals.

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The action by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation saw tens of thousands of patients face cancellations of appointments over a number of days over the past two weeks.

Further strike action was to take place this week but that has now been cancelled.

Under the proposals, nurses will be able to move to the new salary scale from March 1.

Irish Nurses and Midwife Organisation spokesperson, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “There is still more negotiations to be done, but we are at a point where we believe strikes can be suspended. Members will be kept fully informed and will have the final say in a ballot.

“Safe staffing along with recruitment and retention were key concerns for us, and we have made progress on both.

“We are immensely grateful for our determined nurse and midwife members, who are standing up for our patients and our progressions. They have at all times worked to ensure patient safety during this dispute.”

Minister for Health, Simon Harris, welcomed the decision to suspend the strike which was to resume over three days this week.

The government is now bracing itself for wider public pay demands.

A spokesperson for the Health Service Executive said it will do all it can to restore normal services following the disruption.

“We expect that Emergency Departments will be extremely busy and we would ask the public to only use these services if absolutely necessary.”