THE HSE TODAY launched its graduate employment programme with 1,000 new nursing positions, amid strong criticisms from the union representing them.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has said the programme is “nothing more than an attempt to introduce cheap labour under a superficial guise of an educational graduate programme”.
General Secretary of the union, Liam Doran has also said that it would mean 1,000 experienced nurses and midwives would be let go to make way for the new graduates who will be working for 80 per cent of the agreed rate of pay.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Barry O’Brien, Director of Human Resources at the HSE said he wanted to stress that no nurses currently on contract would lose their jobs because of the scheme.
“We currently employ approximately 35,000 nurses and when we recruit the 1,000 nurses we’ll employ 36,000 nurses,” he said.
“Outside of the employment control ceiling, a thousand graduates can be offered two year contracts in addition to the approved ceiling for nurses which we currently have, so they are additional jobs.”
When asked if he thought it was fair for them to do the same work for 80 per cent of the pay he said: “It’s no different from any other job where you have a direct graduate entry programme and people join the work environment at that grade.”
O’Brien added that there would be “no circumstances in which we will tolerate any sort of a non cooperation with any graduate who comes to work under this programme by their colleagues”.
At a rally that took place in Croke Park, last Saturday the nurses/midwives sanctioned a complete boycott of this initiative which opened today.
A spokesperson for the HSE told TheJournal.ie that, as the employment programme has just been launched, there will be no figures for the number of applications received until next week.