Public service stability agreement could provide solution to current impasse
The INMO expressed disappointment that, rather than meeting directly, as requested by the Organisation, the Minister for Finance has decided to communicate over the airwaves. The INMO requested a direct meeting as far back as 30th August 2018, and again on 5th September 2018.This invitation still stands.
The INMO reminds government that it has a responsibility to ensure the safety, and security, of their citizens, and this includes having enough nurses and midwives, adequately trained.The consequences of not doing so are detrimental to human health and mortality.
The INMO believe that the Public Service Stability Agreement, at Clause 3, is capable of providing a solution to the current impasse. The INMO have already commenced a ballot for industrial action but say it is not too late for realistic engagement.
The facts are:
- there are 103 fewer staff nurses employed today than there were in December 2017;
- there are 1650 fewer nurses and midwives employed today than there were in 2007;
- we are unable to recruit midwifery staff to match the recommended safe level of staff midwives to births ratio;
- the demand for hospital and community care services has grown significantly since 2007;
- hospitals and community care services will get busier due to the changing demographics of Irish society;
- recently nursing/midwifery agencies have increased the rate for nurses/midwives they engage by 20% and, in addition, are offering new entrants point 5 of the salary scale;
- likewise, domestic private hospitals are now also offering incentives to new entrants, to come and work in the private hospital sector;
- the INMO face a constant difficulty seeking to get the HSE, and Department of Health, to live up to commitments they enter into in relation to recruitment and retention agreements;
- recruitment of nurses and midwives is now taking place within a very competitive global market and Ireland falls behind all the main competing countries when it comes to pay; and
- nursing and midwifery salaries were to be reviewed considering the advances in education and expansion of roles, this commitment given in 2006 is outstanding and we believe can be comprehended within the terms of the PSSA.
The International Council of Nurses recently published research into the relationship between nurses pay and supply and concluded that:
“Political choices and priorities appear to be a dominant driver in terms of the level of nurses pay. However, politicians and policy makers cannot ignore the significance of pay as a factor influencing the recruitment and retention. Short term decision making in relation to pay appears to be self -defeating. Medium and long term pay, and rewards strategies need to be in place to ensure workforce supply meets population needs and to deliver economic competitiveness and sustainable growth”.
Speaking today the INMO’s General Secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha, said:
“The Minister’s disappointment is shared by the members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, who believe they are forced into a position of taking industrial action because real, and substantive, engagement has not taken place either with the Department of Public Expenditure or the Department of Health and HSE, in respect of the very real issues they face in their workplaces due to an inability to retain nurses and midwives at work”.
Ms. Ni Sheaghdha continued:
“What they seek is engagement in accordance with Section 3 of the Public Service Stability Agreement and the government will not find them wanting in respect of proposing cost saving measures. The figures set out by the Department of Public Expenditure and reform are exaggerated and seek only to portray the real cost of safe care as unattainable. INMO members do not accept this position as they face patients daily who deserve better”.