11th February 2022
1. Unveiling of Stardust and COVID memorials
On Monday 14th February INMO President, Karen McGowan, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, and Mr Charlie Bird will formally unveil the two memorial pieces in honour of the victims of the Stardust tragedy and those who died during the COVID-19 pandemic at the Richmond Education and Events Centre. The first memorial is to commemorate the anniversary of the Stardust tragedy and the 48 victims who lost their lives on 14th February 1981. The Richmond Hospital treated many of the victims on that night and the memorial is to acknowledge the connection with The Richmond hospital and give the families affected by Stardust a place to attend in remembrance.
The second memorial will commemorate the lives lost during the pandemic, in particular those of the brave healthcare workers who passed away due to COVID and will honor the extraordinary contribution of nurses and midwives over the past two years.
Both memorial pieces are identical wood and cast-iron benches, designed by Robert Ballagh and commissioned by our National Executive and they will be permanently located on either side of the main entrance to The Richmond.
2. Pandemic Recognition Payment
As you are aware the INMO has pursued pandemic recognition since November 2020 and three weeks ago the government announced a €1,000 net pandemic payment for healthcare workers in the public health system and some exceptions in the private sector.
The INMO has been working to ensure as many nurses and midwives as possible are compensated by this payment and has sought engagement with the HSE and the Department of Health. The HSE and DOH have indicated that they will meet the health sector unions next week and, at that stage, will be able to share the specific parameters of the payment. The government’s scheme will compensate the public sector, including the HSE, Section 38, and Section 39 organisations. The government, in their announcement also outlined private nursing homes and hospices will be compensated by the payment. The government has clarified that the scheme does not include private hospitals and GP practices, however, the INMO will pursue claims with private employers not compensated by the government scheme. The government, in its announcement, indicated that the payment would be made on the 31st of March 2022.
Also, as part of the recognition of workers to the pandemic, the government has issued Statutory Instrument 50/2022 The Organisation of Working Time (Covid-19 Commemoration) Regulations 2022 was signed into law on 7 February 2022 and gives legal effect to designating Friday 18 March 2022 as a one-off public holiday. Please note both the 17th and 18th March this year will be public holidays.
These Regulations further appoint the first Monday in every February to be a public holiday, except where the 1st day of February happens to fall on a Friday in which case that day will be a public holiday, every year in celebration of Imbolc/St. Brigid’s day. The first such public holiday will be Monday 6th February 2023.
3. The Hours Body Report
The Hours Body has recommended the restoration of Haddington Road hours from the 1st of July 2022. The full report has now been submitted to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath and he is currently considering the full details of the same. Trade unions have been provided a copy of the full report today and our INMO Executive Council will consider it at their meeting on Monday. This report has clearly recommended that the additional Haddington Road Agreement hours be removed. Significant additional monies will be provided to the health service in relation to the replacement of hours and in the coming weeks, we expect to engage with the HSE in relation to the restoration of hours from 1st of July 2022.
4. Expert Group on Nursing and Midwifery
We have been advised that the Expert Group has now completed its work and finalised the report. This long-awaited report from the Expert Group was established after the 2019 dispute was issued to the Minister for Health on the 24th of January. We have sought a copy of this report and are advised that we will be provided with it early next week. The INMO Executive Council will consider its recommendations at its meeting on Tuesday. We will then need to have further engagement with the Department of Health. In our submission to the Expert Group, we have emphasised that when its recommendations issued, and have been considered by the INMO Executive Council, there will need to be a high-level implementation group to ensure the recommendations are implemented as quickly as possible.
5. Sectoral Bargaining – pay for promotional grades
Under the terms of the national agreement Building Momentum, the outstanding payments for promotional grades achieved because of the 2019 dispute fell for implementation on 1st of February 2022. The INMO recently received updated and revised costings from the HSE and DOH in relation to implementation. The INMO has written to the HSE outlining amendments we believe are required to the costing projections set out. We await a response and will update members immediately once these discussions have concluded. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has confirmed to all groups utilising the sectoral bargaining fund that the operative date is the 1st February.
6. INMO CJ Coleman Research and Innovation Award 2022
The closing date for the CJ Coleman Award has been extended until 7th April 2022
A bursary of €1000 will be awarded for a completed research/ change project, promoting and improving quality of patient care, and/or staff working conditions, in an innovative way. We encourage any members who have been engaged in a research or innovation project in their workplace or practice to apply.
Further information and a link to the application form can be found at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/13BSJrXivrih7hKhN1P40-09XcM4sej2R90rinyF40wM/edit
Phil Ní Sheaghdha
INMO General Secretary