INMO, the nurses' and midwives' union, is balloting its members over strike action in protest at low pay and staffing shortages. If agreed, there will be 24-hour strike with proposals already to escalate this to two days of action in the following week if the government fails to respond. INMO says that for every four nursing vacancies there is only one application and that the health service is paying employment agencies EUR 10000 for every nurse or midwife they recruit. It underlines the importance of tackling this issue to ensure the safety of patients which is under threat as a result of the current staff shortages.
Nurses and midwives to vote on strike action over pay
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Members of the INMO nurses' and midwives' union have voted 95% in favour of strike action over pay and staffing shortages. The union leadership was due to meet on 7-8 January to consider plans for a 24-hour strike. If it goes ahead it will be only the second strike in the union's 100-year history. INMO argues that urgent action is needed to tackle the major staffing shortages across the country with low pay one of the key issues. According to the union's figures, nurses and midwives are paid around EUR 5000-7000 a year less than other, comparable health professionals.
The ETUC has welcomed the vote by the European Parliament to support changes to the posted workers' directive. The changes were negotiated between the Parliament, European Commission and Council and now the Directive can be used to guarantee that posted workers get the same pay rates as locally employed workers. The ETUC concedes that there was a significant compromise in the exclusion of road transport workers but identified this and the need to ensure application through the sub-contracting chain as issues to be taken up in future.