Lunchtime protest scheduled at Letterkenny Hospital over pay cuts
Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation will stage a lunchtime protest at Letterkenny General Hospital next week as part of a nationwide campaign of action to reverse pay cuts to working 4th year pre-registration nurses and midwives.
Describing the decision by the Department of Health and Children to impose pay reductions on the representatives concerned as "totally unacceptable", INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran, said yesterday the proposal devalued the work of the nurses to the "level of slave labour."
Letterkenny General is one of thirteen hospitals throughout the county - Sligo General is also involved - where the protests will be staged on Wednesday, February 9th.
The lunchtime demonstrations will be followed up with a protest march and rally in Dublin on February 16th at which a letter, calling on the incoming Minister for Health to reverse the decision, will be handed in.
The INMO said the Department of Health, in addition to the 10% pay cut announced in the budget, intend to impose further "savage cuts" on the nursing staff involved over the coming years.
"These health service workers work exclusively in the frontline, providing direct patient care. Therefore this cut once again highlights the emptiness of the government's promise to protect frontline staff and services," say the Union.
Highlighting the protests next week, Mr. Doran maintained: "The INMO is angered and disgusted by this unilateral decision to cut the pay of working pre-registration nurses and midwives and it is totally unacceptable to the organisation.
"This proposal devalues, to the level of slave labour, the nature of the essential direct care given during this 36 week rostered placement. No one can seriously expect people to work, the full roster and range of duties, for no pay.
"We will fiercely resist this attack on these young professionals which amounts to nothing more than gross exploitation," insisted the General Secretary.
If there is no resolution following the two days of action, the INMO will ballot all 4th year pre-registration nurses and midwives for a withdrawal of labour in early March.
INMO President, Sheila Dickson, said she had spoken with many of pre-resistration members around the country who were already finding it difficult, due to the demands of the programme, to make ends meet.
"This reality was confirmed to me when I met members, from Dublin, who were attending Dundalk IT and had placements in Letterkenny General Hospital.This meant that they had to rent accommodation in both places."
Next Wednesday's protest in Letterkenny is scheduled to take place between 12.30.p.m. and 1.30.p.m.