Local nurses, who are members of the Irish Nurses’ Organisation, are being balloted for industrial action in a bid to protect them from further cuts in pay and conditions, says their union.
It took the decision earlier this week to begin a nationwide ballot of all members in the public health service.
The INO said the move aims to seek a mandate for industrial action in the event of there being any attempts by Government or public service employers to further reduce the pay and conditions of employment of nurses and midwives (including any attempt to cut premium pay and allowances ).
In its discussions the INO executive council said it noted repeated references by Government ministers that further cuts in public service pay were under review and discussion.
“The INO, in commencing this ballot, would reiterate that nurses and midwives, together with their public service colleagues, have already suffered a very significant cut in their pay in the form of a 7.5 per cent pension levy (which in effect was a straight pay reduction ) in addition to increased levies which were applied to all PAYE workers,” explains Noreen Muldoon, the INO’s industrial relations officer in the west.
“The net effect of these pay reductions already imposed by Government can be clearly seen. For example a staff nurse on €45,000 per annum (15 years qualified ) has already had their pay reduced by €372 per month.”
The nationwide ballot will be completed early next month and the outcome will be considered by the INO’s executive council when it meets on November 3.
Ms Muldoon says the ballot is being carried out against the background of the Government repeatedly stating that further cuts in the pay and conditions of public services are being considered.
“This fact, when taken with the McCarthy Report - which overtly attacks frontline staff - and the Government’s approach to the banks, where anything they require is immediately conceded, has left our executive council with no choice but to prepare for major industrial action to defend our members very livelihoods.
“The INO will continue to liaise with other public service unions to ensure the most effective resistance possible to any and all further attacks upon the welfare of our members and fellow public servants.”