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Nurses and Industrial Action: The Irish Experience

Nurses and Industrial Action: The Irish Experience

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Nurses and Industrial Action: The Irish Experience

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  1. Nurses and Industrial Action:The Irish Experience David Hughes Deputy General Secretary, Irish Nurses Organisation

  2. Shout it from the Rooftops

  3. Two National Disputes • Pay Claims lodged in September 1994 • Poor Employer response heightened sense of grievance • Momentum gathered and an increasing threat of militancy emerged and grew from Feb 1996 culminating in a National Nurse and Midwife Strike in October 1999

  4. The Strike • Commenced 19th October 1999 • Involved All Nurses and Midwives • Emergency and essential cover provided • Lasted 9 Days • Ended following a Labour Court Recommendation after intense weekend talks • Action called off pending a Ballot

  5. Campaign Achievements • Over 27% increase for Staff Nurse (final 2% after the strike) Plus 5 fold increase in Allowances • Senior Staff Nurse Scale. (5% above the Max) • New Management Structure with significantlyhigher pay scales (Plus lump sum 1K ) • CNS and ANP (1,200 new posts) • 1K Promotions to CNM1 • Funded Degree Programme

  6. Member Reaction • Anger and Disappointment • Deal accepted by Large Majority • Unfinished Business ! • Discontent about Staffing Levels and Workload • Loss of 9 Days Pay and Pension Credit

  7. Review with Strike Committees • Calling off Action prior to the Ballot • 9 Days work without Pay =► Never Again • Member Confusion about the Purpose of the Campaign • Unrealistic Expectation of the potential of Strike Action • Role of Other Unions

  8. 2005 – 2007 Campaign • Bury the Ghost of 1999 ! • Procedure, Protest, Work to Rule, Limited Strike • Clearly Defined Claims (hours, pay anomaly, parity with therapeutic grades, additional CNS, preceptorship allowance. Dublin weighting, pension credit for 1999) • Strike Fund • Only INO and PNA involved

  9. Claims Lodged • Social Partnership provided for Benchmarking • Terms of Reference too narrow. • INO/PNA Lodge 7 Claims Dec 2005 under Health Service Dispute Framework (26 week process) • National Rally in support of Claims prior to Court Hearing • Labour Court delay in issuing recommendation as Sustaining Progress negotiations in progress

  10. Court Recommendation 9th November • Pay and Hours Claims should go to Benchmarking • Preceptorship & Dublin Weighting – Benchmarking • Review of CNS Positions Recommended • Restoration of 9 Days for Pension Purposes

  11. Plan of Action Announced at Rally • Political Lobbying • Ballot for Work to Rule and Strikes of Short Duration • Ongoing Protests

  12. Work To Rule • Ban on Clerical Admin and I.T. Work • Ban on Meetings except for named individual patients • Ban on all but Essential Telephone Work • Ban on Opening and Closing Buildings started 2nd April 2007 lasted almost 8 weeks. Escalated to one hour service work stoppages at individual locations after four weeks

  13. National 2 Hour Stoppage Averted • Escalation to National 2 hour Work Stoppage averted by National Implementation Body take it or leave it recommendation on it’s eve • National Stoppage called off in the early hours of May 15th (a week before the General Election) Work to Rule left in place pending the Ballot

  14. Achievements • 37.5 hour week to be introduced from 1st June 2008 • Commission to examine how a 35 hour week can be introduced. (Recommendations published) • Pay Claims to be given a special hearing by Benchmarking Body. (ultimately awarded 10% to Directors and Assistants and 6.8% to CNM3, but ruled Staff Nurse claims to be outside terms of reference)

  15. All Out ? • Conference Decision 7th May 2009 • Nurses at Sligo General Hospital took All Out Action 27th May > Allowed Last 8 Hours > Issue Staffing Levels 80 Vacancies unfilled & Temporaries given notice > Labour Court Emergency Hearing and it’s Recommendations were Accepted