THE INMO HAS said that its boycott on nurses applying for a graduate scheme is “working” as the number of applications is minimal.
It said that the HSE has extended the deadline for applications for the graduate nursing programme, which offers new jobs to 1000 nurses, by two weeks, and has now opened it to graduates from 2010 and 2011.
In responding to this development the INMO said:
The decision to extend the application date, and open up the eligibility criteria, confirms that the call for a boycott of this flawed programme is being followed by new graduates. This boycott call will remain in place for whatever application period the HSE lays down.
The organisation added that the HSE decision “also confirms that this was never an educational programme, nor an opportunity to consolidate learning, but was always an overt attempt to introduce cut-price, yellow pack nursing posts into our health service”.
It said this recent development will be raised again when the Croke Park extension talks reconvene in the morning.
In the interim, it has reaffirmed its call upon all new graduates to continue to boycott this initiative until the HSE commences meaningful discussions.
Barry O’Brien, Director of Human Resources at the HSE, spoke to Morning Ireland on RTÉ this morning, and said that there had been a “very slow level of application” to the scheme. He did not mention the actual number of applications, but said that the HSE has decided to review the scheme.
He said that this week hospitals will be getting their budgets, and the directors of nursing will have to plan their nursing resources across the year. He said that some will be “surprised” when they see they are no longer able to afford the level of overtime and agency staff they were using.
The HSE will engage next week with its directors of nursing. O’Brien said the alternative to the 1000 jobs is “draconian measures”.
The INMO had earlier insisted that jobs would be lost as a result of the graduate recruitment, but O’Brien noted that this was the first time the Government allowed the HSE outside of the employment ceiling to recruit graduates.
He said the rate of pay is “consistent with other rates of pay on other graduate programmes”, with the application form saying salaries begin at €21,769. However the INMO has described this as “cheap labour”.
A rally took place in Croke Park earlier this month, during which nurses and midwives sanctioned a complete boycott of the graduate jobs initiative.