Breakthrough in nurses' dispute see new pay grade created

Tuesday, 12th February, 2019 3:09pm

Breakthrough in nurses' dispute see new pay grade created

Picket lines at Cavan General Hospital have been lifted as the nursing union welcomed “progress across all areas of concern”. The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s (INMO) elected executive council suspended further strikes following a recommendation from the Labour Court on Monday. 
If members of the nurses’ union INMO vote in favour of the deal agreed at the Labour Court, nurses stand to receive an increase of up to seven per cent in their pay.
The three days of industrial action have resulted in more than 80,000 appointments cancelled across the country. The court intervened in the dispute over pay and staffing for up to 40,000.
Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe insisted the deal struck with the nurses’ union did not breach the national wage agreement, but concerns have been expressed that the price of the deal may be a flood of pay claims from other unions. 
The recommendation includes a new grade being created. The Enhanced Nurse Practice Grade is a pay scale higher than the existing scale, by an average €2,000 to €2,500 (around 7%), and will range from €35,806 to €45,841 per annum. Nurses would be eligible to apply for the enhanced grade after four years' service.
Speaking after the announcement to an agreement, INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “The Executive Council have agreed that sufficient progress has been made to suspend strikes and consider the Labour Court’s recommendations. There is still more negotiation to be done, but we are at a point where we believe strikes can be suspended.”
Elected members of Cavan County voiced their support for the stance taken by nurses at the January meeting of the authority. Sarah O'Reilly (Aontú), John Paul Feeley (Fianna Fáil), and Damien Brady (Sinn Féin) all tabled motions of support for the striking nurses.
The Celt went to Cavan General Hospital to canvass the opinions of local nurses on the issue, but nursing staff remained tight lipped on the situation.

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