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The INMO has said agencies are offering nurses and midwives 20% higher pay than the HSE. Shutterstock/Thaiview
equal pay for equal work

Agency nurses 'paid over €10,000 more a year than public staff'

The INMO said “the public sector simply isn’t offering the going rate for the job”.

NURSING REPRESENTATIVE BODY the INMO has claimed agency nurses are being offered wages at 20% more than their public sector counterparts.

The figure is contained in a new report released by the union today, which it said explains why 94% of its  members have rejected the government’s pay offers. 

The group which represents nurses and midwives has said it is clear evidence “that public sector pay in nursing and midwifery is below the real market rate, which in turn is driving the difficulties in recruiting and retaining nurses and midwives in Ireland’s public health service”.

The union said it amounts to an extra €13,000  a year for a newly qualified nurse, which for senior staff the figure is closer to €10,000.

The INMO has identified Xtra Nursing Agency as one of those offering at least 20% higher than public sector pay. It said the agency is also offering increments for nurses in their first five years of working. 

Scottish Nursing Guild is also said to pay 20% more than the public sector wage. 

The body  said their research explains why agency midwives and nursing staff cost the HSE over €1.4m per week. The HSE uses agencies to cover staffing gaps in the health service, which the INMO argues are primarily caused by low pay in the sector.

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said ”the public sector simply isn’t offering the going rate for the job. There is now a pay gap of 20% between staff doing the same work, at the same time, in the same hospital”.

It’s time to face facts. Our public health service cannot hire enough nurses and midwives on these wages. They’re simply not paying the market rate. 

The union has been campaigning for a 12% pay rise for its members, however that’s been ruled out by the commission on public pay.

Ní Sheaghdha said until “the government meet with us directly to negotiate realistic pay rates, our health service will continue to be understaffed and waiting lists will only grow longer”.

The warning comes as the health service prepares for the traditionally busy winter period, with staffing shortages leading to difficulties in the number of beds hospitals can open. 

In May 9,091 admitted patients spent time waiting on a bed according to the INMO. The union is warning the situation will get worse if the recruitment and retention issues are not dealt with through a significant hike in pay.

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