Most of you receiving this journal, whether you work in the public or private healthcare sector, will be reading this just days after receiving your salary, for January 2010, which will have confirmed the implementation of the government’s announcement in the Budget in December, subsequently confirmed in legislation, to cut the pay of all public servants with effect from January 1, 2010.
Regrettably many employers running large private hospitals/healthcare facilities, are seeking to quickly copy this disgraceful act by announcing pay cuts for all staff, also from the January 1, 2010. See page 10 for details on how we are speedily reacting to these acts of gross opportunism by these private sector employers.
In relation to the cuts in public service pay, which affect over 300,000 plus staff across all areas of the public service, the Public Services Committee, (PSC) of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has now commenced a public sector wide “strike back” campaign (See pages 6, 7 and 8).
This campaign has been finalised in the context of members of all public service unions, including the INMO, contacting their respective unions, calling for a coherent and tactically astute response to the actions of public sector employers in cutting the pay of all of its staff. In recent weeks workplace meetings have been held to explain the actions required in phase 1 of the campaign. This is to ensure compliance and begin the process of preparing members for further phases of the campaign which may involve escalation of industrial action involving the withdrawal of labour. In finalising the details of the initial phases the INMO, along with all unions, has been conscious to avoid, if possible, initiating actions which result in a further loss of income at this difficult time. Since the budget announcement we have had a rather unusual period during which we have had the lead-up to the Christmas period, the Christmas holiday itself and a very extended period of extreme cold weather. This meant that the required focus, upon the draconian actions of the government, was reduced due to the ongoing distractions.
Indeed, it should also be noted, that during this “uneasy calm” you had the usual right wing, anti-public servant, commentators out saying that the government had done the right thing. They argue hard decisions had to be taken (as long as they didn’t hurt them) and that the public service union’s alternative strategy was flawed, had been rejected by the government, and everyone should now move on.
Now every INMO member and indeed every unionised public servant, must ask, and answer, the questions; Is this the time to act? Is this the time to say no to a government that has imposed a second pay cut in nine months? And is this the time for 300,000 plus loyal, hard-working, very ordinarily paid, public service workers to combine together and say we are not going to accept being treated differently than all other workers? The answers to these questions must be:
“Yes, the time to act is now, yes we are going to act and yes we want our money back”.
Therefore, the time for action is NOW.
Earthquake in Haiti
I wish to take this opportunity to convey our heartfelt sorrow and sympathy to the people of Haiti following the recent terrible earthquake. I also salute the hundreds of health professionals, including nurses and midwives, who have rushed there to provide care and assistance. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all at this time.
General Secretary, INMO
|Editorial - Time for action is now|