Talks underway at Labour Court to avoid next week's strike action by nurses

Talks are underway at the Labour Court in a bid to avert next week’s strike action by nurses.

The Court has invited nursing unions, and HSE and government officials to outline if their position on pay has in any way changed since the sides last met 11 days ago.

Around 37,000 INMO members and 6,000 psychiatric nurses belonging to the PNA will stage three consecutive days of industrial action next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

This could mean over 80,000 patients would have planned medical appointments cancelled.

Speaking on her way into the talks, General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Patricia King, said she is disappointed with the Government’s approach so far.

She said: "We want to do everything we can to ensure that the clients of the HSE, of all hospitals and care centres, are not in any way further disrupted - that's why we're trying to make every effort we can.

"I have to say I am disappointed with the reaction to any of the inroads I have tried to make on this.

"It will very much depend on what the position of the employer is when we go in here."

Meanwhile, nurses, midwives, friends, patients and supporters will march through Dublin from 12:30pm tomorrow in support of striking nurses and midwives.

The marchers are calling the Government to make serious proposals to resolve the dispute.

The march intends to feature student nurses and midwives with suitcases asking the Government to "give them a reason to stay and work in Ireland."

INMO President Martina Harkin-Kelly said:

“We have been deeply humbled by the public support for us during this strike. None of us want to be on strike, but it’s heartening to know that the public have our backs when we do.

“I’m asking anyone whose lives have been touched by nurses and midwives to stand with us on Saturday."

Labour Court to examine nurses strike in effort to avert further widespread disruption

The Labour Court is to examine the nurses strike this morning, in an effort to avert widespread disruption to the health service next week.

Three strike days are due to take place, with over 80,000 patients potentially having their medical appointments cancelled.

Government sources say they understand the Labour Court will review this dispute again this morning.

Given that the same court 10 days ago said the sides were too far apart for it to intervene, this would be a significant move.

While this is potentially good news, both the nursing unions and the Government have not changed their stance on the issue of pay.

43,000 members of the INMO and PNA want a 12% pay increase.

The government says this would cost €300m and with the threat of Brexit and economic uncertainty it's simply not affordable.

It could be that the Labour Court is making one last attempt to try and prevent what the HSE worries would be huge disruption across the health sector next week.

Strike days, next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday by nurses and midwives could see over 80,000 patients potentially having their medical appointments cancelled.

More on this topic

Three in five nurses vote to accept Labour Court proposals

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

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