A major Irish nursing union has recommended its members reject a government deal that guaranteed wages would not be cut in return for acceptance of service reforms.
The Irish Health Service Executive had guaranteed no pay cuts until at least 2014, no compulsory redundancies and a mechanism for restoring previous pay rates. But these guarantees were reliant on staff accepting widespread work practice reforms.
Accepting the agreement would result in 6,000 posts being lost from the public health service over the next three years, and a probable reduction of over 3,500 acute hospital beds, according to the union.
INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said: “Even in the face of the very troubled times that we live in, the INMO is not prepared to advise acceptance of an agreement which we sincerely believe will not reverse pay cuts but will materially damage an already struggling public health service for generations to come.”
He added: “In proposing the rejection of these proposals it must be noted the INMO is not immediately moving to a more intensive phase of industrial action.”
The INMO said it was still prepared to agree radical changes to health services “but only in a manner which maintains safety, maximises access, ensures equity, effectiveness and cost efficiency”.
It will now develop alternative proposals, which members will be balloted on in May.
However, another Irish union with nurse members, Siptu, has recommended the deal to its members.