THE GOVERNMENT HAS been asked to stop a HSE plan to recruit one thousand graduate nurses on a starting salary worth 80 per cent of the usual salary for the job.
Trade union SIPTU has written to Minister for Health James Reilly and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin asking them to intervene.
The HSE will begin advertising next week for one thousand jobs for graduate nurses and midwives, lifting the embargo on recruitment in the public sector. The graduates will be hired on a starting salary of €22,000. However two major nursing unions have called for a boycott on the process.
“The current salary for new entrants has already been cut by 10 per cent for all new public servants and there is no justification in a further cut being imposed on the graduate class of 2012,” said Kevin Figgis of SIPTU.
“We have advised the Ministers that if graduates are employed on existing salary scales for nurses and midwives, savings can still be accrued against the current expenditure on agency fees. We are calling for the current plan to be suspended to allow for consultation with SIPTU and for all alternatives to be examined in detail”.
Around 500 nurses and midwives held a rally at Croke Park at the weekend to protest against the plans.
Nurses and midwives argue that the HSE plan will see one thousand agency staff replaced by new graduates who will have the same responsibilities but will be paid 80 per cent of the current salary.
Barry O’Brien, the head of human resources in the HSE, has said the position of the nursing unions is contradictory given that they have previously been critical of the lack of jobs for nursing graduates in Ireland.