Harris hopes Labour Court recommendation signifies end of nurses' dispute

Latest: The INMO leadership will meet tomorrow to decide when its members will vote on a pay deal for nurses.

Strike committees are being briefed on the Labour Court recommendation, which suggests a new grade with higher pay, ranging between 2.5% and 7%.

The union will spend the next three weeks trying to convince members to endorse the deal.

Surgeries and outpatient clinics are going ahead following the suspension of this week's planned strikes.

Law Professor at Maynooth University, Michael Doherty says the Labour Court proposal is a technical way of increasing nurses pay: "What it is saying is, we will put in place a new pay scale for nurses and nurses with specific qualifications will move to this pay scale from the one they are on and essentially the new pay scale will have higher rates.

It is a technical way of saying nurses will earn more money but they won't get a pay rise, they will do something slightly different and that will justify this new pay scale.

Health Minister Simon Harris says the suspension of this week's nurses' strike is welcome news for patients across the country.

He says he realises it is also welcome news for nurses and midwives who did not take the decision to strike 'lightly'.

"A huge amount of work has gone into getting to this point by both teams in both our departments and also by the unions in conjunction with the Labour Court," said the Health Minister.

"I certainly hope that this will signify an end to the dispute but obviously we need to be very respectful of the processes that need to be gone through in the coming days."

HSE working to resume normal service following suspension on nurses' strike

The HSE says it will do everything it can to restore normal service following the suspension of this week's nurses strike.

Outpatient appointments are set to go ahead as planned and patients with appointments for today, tomorrow and Thursday are advised to attend as scheduled.

Surgical patients will be contacted by their hospital if their procedure is going ahead.

Nurses could get pay rises of around 7% as part of the Labour Court deal which will be balloted on within the next month.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe refused to be drawn on the details before briefing his Cabinet colleagues but he confirmed he would be recommending acceptance.

"I know at the moment many unions will be considering this issue and I think it's more appropriate to speak on that matter once I've briefed Cabinet on it first," said Minister Donohoe.

Health Minister Simon Harris is confident the HSE can quickly restore services to the country's hospitals: "I know our hospitals will be very eager to get people back in as quickly as they possibly can and that will obviously be done on a hospital by hospital basis now that our hospitals have certainty that our nurses and midwives will be in a position to work this week."

The INMO's Phil Ní Sheaghdha, says more negotiation is needed on some aspects of the deal: "There is a lot in it and we will have to give a full briefing on Wednesday."

She said the recommendation “makes progress” across all areas of concern to the INMO, including the key areas of safe staffing and addressing recruitment and retention problems.

Among other proposals it includes:

  • Guaranteed multi-annual funding to maintain safe staffing levels;
  • Significant changes to salary scale and allowances;
  • Increased education and training opportunities;
  • Also, an expert group will examine, in a short period of time, remaining pay and reform issues including those affecting senior management grades.

    The deal is also understood to include the editing of existing salary levels to increase basic pay levels, increasing expenses/ allowances by up to 20% and expanding the expenses/allowances system to ensure thousands of more nurses can access it.

    Meanwhile, patient representatives say the industrial relations system has failed the people of Ireland with the length of time it has taken to get to this point, and lessons should be learned to ensure it does not happen again.

    More on this topic

    Majority of nurses see contract as ‘good deal’

    INMO recommends that members vote for Labour Court proposals

    INMO warns nurses' strike has only been suspended, not called off

    Nurses' dispute returns to Labour Court after talks break down

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