Éirígí stands in full support of the thousands of nurses who are set to strike across the Twenty-Six Counties in the coming weeks. The statement of support came as the Psychiatric Nurses Association this evening announced a series of dates for industrial action by its 6,000 members in January and February.
On Tuesday (January 8th) the 40,000 strong Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation announced their first 24 hour strike for Wednesday, January 30th with further strikes planned on five dates over the first two weeks of February. Should the INMO strike go ahead it will be only the second state-wide strike by that organisation in the last one hundred years.
At this point the 4,000 nurses aligned to the Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union have refused to join their colleagues in the fight for better pay and conditions.
Speaking in relation to the upcoming industrial action Éirígí spokesperson Ciarán Heaphey said,
“2018 was the worst year on record for overcrowding with over 108,000 admitted patients forced to wait on trolleys or chairs, without a proper bed. There is simply not enough beds in the healthcare system to meet demand. More beds means more nurses, but the government is not prepared to hire the necessary number of nursing staff at the appropriate wage levels.
Our nurses are tired of being the ones on the frontline apologising to patients and their families for the failures of successive governments. They are no longer prepared to tolerate intolerable working conditions and a wage structure that does not recognise their professional qualifications or their contribution to the well-being of the nation.
Irish nurses are being snapped up by foreign health services by the promise of proper pay and sustainable working conditions, sometime before they even finish their training. Taxpayers are effectively funding the training of healthcare workers for export, a totally ludicrous situation.”
Calling for the creations of a new public health service Ciarán said,
“The current two-tier healthcare system is simply not fit for purpose. It has created numerous anomalies, inefficiencies and inequalities. Only a new single-tier properly-funded public healthcare system has the potential to provide all our people with the high-quality healthcare they are entitled to.
Only such a system has the potential to provide our nurses, and all our healthcare workers, with a sustainable work environment and appropriate financial reward for their expertise and the work that they do.
Éirígí fully supports our nurses in their fight for fair pay and for better conditions for themselves and for their patients. Over the coming weeks the nurses will need as much public support as possible. We are asking people to contact their local government Councillors and TDs to demand fair pay and better condition for all our nurses. ”