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Nurses and midwives are to go on strike for 24 hours on Wednesday 30 January

Further strike days will follow in February if the dispute goes unresolved, the INMO says.

Nurses. INMO General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha speaking to the media today. Leah Farrell Leah Farrell

NURSES AND MIDWIVES will hold a strike on Wednesday 30 January, with further days of action planned in February if their issues are not addressed. 

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation announced this afternoon the initial date following a vote in December where 95% of INMO nurses and midwives balloted to go on strike.

The strike will see the INMO members withdraw their labour for a 24-hour period over low wages and retention issues. 

Reacting to today’s announcement, Minister for Health Simon Harris has said that he does not believe that industrial action is “warranted and could be avoided.” 

The Minister said he believes there is “a clear need for engagement and it is essential that the time is used by all sides to find a resolution to this dispute.”

In that context, health sector management will invite the INMO to meet with them next week.

In a statement the union said today that only lifesaving care and emergency response would be provided during the industrial action. 

The trade union has said that wages in nursing and midwifery are too low to recruit and retain enough staff for a safe health service.

“The number of staff nurses fell by 1,754 (6%) between 2008 and 2018, despite an ageing, growing population making the health service busier,” this afternoon’s statement from the INMO said. 

Student nurses and midwives earn €14,243 a year under the current public sector pay deal; staff nurses earn €29,056 per annum in the first three months, and €31,110 per annum in the latter nine months of their first year. A senior staff nurse earns €47,898 a year.

The last pay agreement contained wage increases of 6.4% to 7.2% over 2018-2020.

INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said going on strike is the “last thing a nurse or midwife wants to do”. 

“But the crisis in recruitment and retention has made it impossible for us to do our jobs properly. We are not able give patients the care they deserve under these conditions.”

“The ball is in the government’s court,” she said, adding the strike can be averted if the government engages with the union and works to resolve the issue. 

“We were due to meet with the government in the national oversight body in December, but the meeting was cancelled. Like many patients in Ireland’s health service, we are still waiting for an appointment.”

The trade union represents over 40,000 nurses and midwives, the majority of whom work in the public healthcare system.

If the strike goes ahead, it will be the second national strike in the INMO’s hundred-year history. 

Should the dispute go unresolved after 30 January further strike days could take place on 5, 7, 12, 13 and 14 February, the union is warning. 

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