Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Ceisteanna (166)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

166. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the way in which he plans to show support for nurses (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3364/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Last year, in line with that Public Service Stability Agreement, in September, the Public Service Pay Commission concluded a review in respect of key health service grades, including nurses.  Also, in line with the Public Service Agreement, the Government concluded negotiations on new entrant pay with public service unions. 

The Public Service Pay Commission recommendations would see Specialist Qualification and Location Allowances for nurses increased by 20% and would see them extended to maternity services. In addition, the Commission recommended that eligibility requirements for Senior Staff Nurse /Midwife be reduced from 20 to 17 years.

With regard to new entrant pay, the Government has made proposals to address this issue which will benefit approximately 10,000 nurses to the value of around €3,000 each.

It is clear that these measures would improve the overall pay package for the majority of nurses and midwives.  They show that the Public Service Stability Agreement and the related negotiation process are delivering significant improvements for nurses. 

In terms of the current dispute, what is being sought is in effect a pay increase to the value of approximately 12%.  Both unions are signed up to the Public Service Stability Agreement, which precludes pay claims and commits the parties to maintaining industrial peace.  Any resolution will need to be within the parameters of the PSSA. 

Despite a number of engagements between health sector management and the INMO and PNA, it has not been possible to make progress.  The unions have now referred the dispute to the WRC Conciliation Services.  The WRC engagement is scheduled to commence on 23 January and management will attend.  There still remains time to reach an agreement which could avert this dispute and I would urge the parties to continue to engage.