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Psychiatric nurses to strike in February over 'recruitment and retention crisis'

They join members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation who are also due to go on strike.
Jan 10th 2019, 4:45 PM 10,134 45

PSYCHIATRIC NURSES ARE to strike in February as part of an escalating campaign of industrial action, the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today.

It said it is setting out an escalating campaign leading to strike action “in response to failure of Government to address the recruitment and retention crisis in nursing”.

 The PNA represents approximately 6,000 nurses working throughout the country.

A ballot of its members in December returned 95% in favour of industrial action up to and including strike. Following this, the Officer Board of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) met today to consider and agree an escalating campaign of action in response to the Government’s failure to address the recruitment and retention crisis in nursing.

The ballot for industrial action up to and including strike followed the rejection by the PNA of the proposals in the Public Pay Commission Report in September to address the recruitment and retention crisis in nursing.

The Officer Board of the PNA said that the escalating campaign will go as follows:

  • PNA members will not be available to work additional hours (ie overtime) on 31 January or 1 February 2019
  • PNA members will not be available to work additional hours (ie overtime) on 5, 6, and 7 February 2019
  • PNA members will strike on 12, 13 and 14 February 2019.

PNA General Secretary Peter Hughes said:

The recruitment and retention crisis in psychiatric nursing is escalating on a monthly basis. With a 40% increase in vacancies from November 2017 to September 2018, the level of vacancies is totally unsustainable and is seriously impacting on service delivery and patient care. The recruitment and retention of nurses within the Irish healthcare system needs to be addressed with realistic proposals from Government as a matter of extreme urgency.

The announcement follows the announcement earlier this week that nurses and midwives will strike for 24 hours on Wednesday 30 January. 

Additionally, the ambulance services branch of the PNA – the National Ambulance Service Representation Association (NASRA) – is to hold its own strike on 22 January.

This dispute centres around NASRA members wanting the right to join a union of their choice.

Earlier this week, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) announced that 95% of its members voted in favour of strike action.

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

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,” a statement from the INMO said. 
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Aoife Barry

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