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Leah Farrell

Strike days by nurses have been suspended after Labour Court intervention

This evening’s Labour Court recommendation includes a number of proposals.

LAST UPDATE | 11 Feb 2019

THE NURSES’ STRIKE has been suspended after an intervention by the Labour Court. 

The move comes after the Labour Court decided to intervene in the nurses’ strike today, with formal talks beginning at 3.30pm this afternoon. It is understood that progress was made during those talks and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said the planned three days of strikes this week will not go ahead.

In a statement, the union said: “The INMO’s elected Executive Council have just received the recommendation by the Labour Court. They have suspended the upcoming strikes at the request of the Court to consider the wide-ranging recommendations.

Members will receive more information on the proposals in the coming days and the recommendation will be put to a ballot.

“In the meantime, we’d ask you to stay united and support your colleagues. The only reliable source of information on these proposals is the INMO, so please pay attention to official communications.”

The INMO has said that the court’s recommendations “makes progress across all areas of concern to the INMO, including the key areas of safe staffing and addressing recruitment and retention problems.”

Among other proposals, it includes “guaranteed multi-annual funding to maintain safe staffing levels,” the INMO has said, as well as “significant changes to salary scale and allowances” and “increased education and training opportunities.”

It’s also proposed to establish an expert group to examine, in a short period of time, remaining pay and reform issues including those affecting senior management grades.

The news of the industrial action being cancelled was welcomed by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Health Minister Simon Harris. 

Speaking to reporters this evening, Donohoe said he would be recommending to Cabinet tomorrow that the Labour Court’s recommendation be accepted. 

DzJUimuX4AEKq_b Christina Finn Christina Finn

“It is our hope and our anticipation that this would form a basis for the resolution of the difficulties that have been at the heart of industrial action over the last number of days.”

The finance minister would not be drawn on the cost implications of the Labour Court recommendations, stating that he will be briefing ministers tomorrow and then the Oireachtas on the “financial consequences of the agreement”.

He added that the recommendation is “consistent with the public sector stability agreement”.

He also acknowledged that other unions would be eyeing the deal closely but added he believes the potential deal would be consistent with the Public Service Stability Agreement. 

Health Minster Simon Harris said the last few days have been disruptive to the health service, but that he will be working closely with the HSE to ensure the recovery plans are put in place so that appointments which were cancelled can now be rebooked. 


Initial talks between the INMO and government negotiators at the Labour Court had ended at around 3am without any concrete resolution. 

The Court had said it would decide if there was sufficient scope for it to intervene in the dispute. About 37,000 nurses and midwives have been engaging in strike action over pay and staffing levels.

Nurses and midwives said they are underpaid and understaffed, meaning they cannot safely do their jobs.

They have argued that a pay rise of 12% is needed to bring them into line with other graduate health professionals, and to attract and retain staff. 

In a statement this evening, INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said that “there is still more negotiation to be done” but that “we are immensely grateful for our determined nurse and midwife members.”

- Additional reporting Christina Finn, Cormac Fitzgerald, Órla Ryan, Cónal Thomas and Daragh Brophy

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