-INMO says 94% rejection of government proposals justified by market rates
Nurses and midwives are being offered 20% higher wages than the public sector by agencies – often to work in the same job in the public health service, the INMO has today revealed.
The union argues that this is further evidence that public sector pay in nursing and midwifery is below the real market rate, which in turn is driving the difficulties in recruiting and retaining nurses and midwives in Ireland’s public health service.
Xtra Nursing Agency, which offers agency staff to the HSE, now pays an hourly rate at least 20% higher than that of the public sector. Nurses in their first five years of employment are also bumped up to the fifth increment.
For a newly qualified nurse, this would mean the annual equivalent of an extra €13,000 per annum (a 46% pay difference). For a senior staff nurse, it would mean close to €10,000 extra (20%).
Another agency provider to the HSE, the Scottish Nursing Guild, also offers rates 20% higher than the public sector.
Agency nurses and midwives are costing the HSE over €1.4m per week. The HSE uses agencies to cover staffing gaps in the health service, which the INMO argues are primarily by low pay.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“94% of nurses and midwives rejected the government’s proposals – and the market clearly agrees with them.
“The public sector simply isn’t offering the going rate for the job. There is now a pay gap of 20% between staff doing the same work, at the same time, in the same hospital.
“Is it any wonder that many of Ireland’s nurses and midwives are opting for agency or overseas work? The government’s refusal to listen to the frontline mean that taxpayers will fork out over €100 million this year on agency nurses alone.
“It’s time to face facts. Our public health service cannot hire enough nurses and midwives on these wages. They’re simply not paying the market rate. Until the government meet with us directly to negotiate realistic pay rates, our health service will continue to be understaffed and waiting lists will only grow longer.”