Hundreds of people with an intellectual disability to be affected as nurses escalate strike threat

NURSES are to escalate their strike action on Tuesday by refusing to provide cover for hundreds of people with an intellectual disability who attend day services for respite care.

The escalation will mean many more vulnerable people will be hit by the strike – on top of the 25,000 patients and people in the community who will be without a service.

The executive of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) who met today also announced extra strike days on the 19th and 21st of February, in addition to the already-announced strikes on the 5th, 7th, 12th, 13th and 14th.

The union announced the  escalation and additional dates for the nurses and midwives’ strike, in the face of the government’s refusal to meaningfully engage with the union.

Next week’s strike planned for Tuesday and Thursday  will see the number of services hit increase from 82 to 240.

The increase will mainly affect day respite services for people with an intellectual disability.

They will have to stay at home on the day of the strike .

The INMO will also be organising a national rally on Saturday 9th of February.

The first nurses’ strike day in twenty years took place on the 30th of January – only the second time in the INNO’s 100-year history that it has gone on strike nationally.

Nurses and midwives say they are seeking to secure safe staffing levels in the health service, through increases in pay to make the professions more attractive.

Speaking today, INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the organisation “remain available” for discussions with the government but that the strikes will continue.

“Nurses and midwives proudly stood up in defence of our patients and professions last Wednesday, but the government has responded with threats and intransigence,” she said.

“Everybody – except the government – recognise that there is a serious understaffing problem in our health services. The public support for the strike on Wednesday showed that the Irish people stand with nurses and midwives.

“Our message is clear. We will not be going away – resolving this dispute requires direct engagement from the government, recognising the real recruitment and retention problems in Irish nursing and midwifery.

“We simply want to be able to do our jobs, but our health service cannot hire enough nurses and midwives on these uncompetitive wages.

“As ever, we remain available for talks with the government for any realistic proposals.”

There has been no offer of talks since the Labour Court hearing last week.

The Government has said it cannot increase pay as it is outside the terms of the national wage agreement and would lead to knock on claims.

Last Wednesday, over 35,000 nurses and midwives took to the picket line after talks with the government failed.

  • Read more: ‘We work so hard to be so poor’ – three nurses tell us why they’re striking with thousands nationwide today

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