Four key updates from the INMO this week:
1. Oireachtas COVID committee: INMO staff nurse Siobhán Murphy and I attended the Oireachtas COVID response committee on Tuesday. As many of you have seen, Siobhán spoke powerfully about her experience with the virus and the long recovery she is facing. You can see some of her testimony here.
We also used the appearance to present the initial findings of the survey which over 7,000 INMO members kindly completed relating to working in the health service during the pandemic. It found that:
Our submission to the committee called for safe staffing levels to be prioritised, along with powers given to the Health and Safety Authority to properly investigate healthcare and other worker infections.
2. Meeting with new Minister for Health: The INMO also held our first meeting with the new health minister, Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly TD. We had met him several times in his role as opposition health spokesperson but used this first ministerial meeting to set out our key objectives to him, including:
We also raised the slow pace of implementation of the maternity strategy and emphasised the requirement to recruit and train more midwives.
3. WRC: On Thursday 23rd , we had a long session at the Workplace Relations Commission. As you are aware our key claims are:
a) recompense for premium pay while on COVID leave;
b) recompense for childcare costs incurred by members who had to use childcare recently to attend work;
c) reinstatement of annual leave used by members to provide childcare due to school/creche closures; and
d) payment for those managerial grades who do not get overtime, but had to work excessively long hours during the pandemic so far.
We know this is a vitally important issue for members. Discussion and conciliation at the WRC has not concluded and further meetings between the HSE and the health sector trade unions are scheduled to take place next week. We will issue the outcome to all members as soon as the process concludes.
4. Annual conference and a new Executive: Unfortunately, public health guidelines have made a full INMO Annual Delegate Conference impossible this year. Union democracy is vital, however, so the Executive Council have decided to host a one-day, partially virtual conference on Friday 9th of October. This will allow for the annual report, audited accounts and 2021 proposed budget be presented to members and the election of a new President and Vice Presidents proceed.
Votes already cast to elect a new Executive Council will be counted on the 7th of September. We’ll issue more information closer to the time to keep members informed of this process. But if you have any questions in the meantime, your local branch will have all the information relevant to your area.
5. Finally, we are currently representing members in some private and section 39 care of older person services, who have been advised by their employers that they intend to close. These representations are complex and the full support of INMO is available to members. If you work in the private sector and have any concerns please contact us and we will be available to assist.
Is mise le meas,
Phil Ní Sheaghdha