NMBI Board to consider unions’ position on fees

The Nurses and Midwives Board of Ireland (NMBI) is considering a demand that it reverse a decision to implement a 50% increase in its retention fee following a meeting between its senior staff and union representatives on Thursday, 5th February.

SIPTU Nursing Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “At the meeting representatives of the three health unions, absolutely and repeatedly, reaffirmed our view that the retention fee, levied by NMBI, must be maintained at the current €100 rate.

“The NMBI team, noting our absolute position with regard to the €100 fee being restored, said that it would be taking the outcome of the meeting, and specifically our position with regard to a €100 retention fee, back to the Board at a meeting scheduled for next Monday, 9th February. The Board’s negotiating team indicated that they would revert back to the unions on Tuesday, 10th February, to provide us with the Board’s decision on this matter.He added: “In the interim we stress that members should pay the €100 fee when their personal circumstance allows.  Please note a record should be kept, of any payment, and your PIN number should be submitted with the €100 payment.”

SIPTU supports agreement to increase nursing resources at UL Hospital Group

SIPTU supports an agreement between health unions and management, facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), to significantly increase nursing resources to the University of Limerick (UL) Hospital Group.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Tony Kenny said: “SIPTU are pleased with the outcome of the negotiations at the LRC and will now work to ensure the recruitment of the new posts happens as soon as possible. This is essential in order to effectively combat the overcrowding crisis in the hospital network in the Mid West.”

He added: “We believe that the recruitment of 70 additional nursing posts in Limerick, Ennis, Nenagh and Croom by the end of May 2015 will go some way towards improving the quality of care for patients at these facilities. It will provide some much needed relief for our members who are working under severe pressure day in and day out.

“In addition to this very positive outcome for patients and workers, SIPTU has successfully fought with other unions to ensure that there will be an independently chaired industrial relations process that will focus on Emergency Department overcrowding in University of Limerick Hospital, Dooradoyle. This hospital has long suffered from severe overcrowding.”

SIPTU supports move to ensure Home Helps have at least 30 minutes with clients

SIPTU supports a decision of the Emergency Department Taskforce to ensure Home Helps have a minimum of 30 minutes with each client in which essential care can be provided.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “The SIPTU Home Helps campaign for additional hours and the full utilisation of their existing contracted hours has succeded in securing this key improvement for clients.

“This move will allow hospitals to successfully discharge more patients, assured that they will be provided with a proper standard of care in the community. If this decision had been made prior to Christmas it would have reduced the impact of overcrowding in our hospital network.”

Paul Bell also called for further action to end the practice by some private nursing home operators of  “cherry-picking” patients for accommodation and requesting additional fees for admission.

He said: “This issue has developed due to successive governments failing to invest in public nursing home faculties. This has allowed private sector providers to gain a monopoly position which some are now abusing by selecting patients and levying addition charges.”

The decision to allow Home Helps a minimum of 30 minutes with patients was made at a meeting of the Emergency Department Taskforce in Dr. Steeven’s Hospital, Dublin, this afternoon (2nd February).

The taskforce comprises relevant stakeholders including senior doctors, lead hospital consultants, HSE National Directors, union representatives and senior officials from the HSE Acute Hospitals Directorate and the Department of Health.

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, convened the Taskforce on 22nd December 2014, to find long-term solutions to the issue of hospital overcrowding.

SIPTU President calls for 5% wage increases and sharp rise in minimum wage

SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor has said that in the coming months his union will embark on a major campaign for pay increases of 5% across the economy. In a speech at Glasnevin Cemetery today (Saturday 31st January) to mark the commemoration of the death of Jim Larkin in 1947, the SIPTU president also said that the union would also engage in a “in a new battle to establish a minimum living wage of €11.45 an hour across all those sectors of the economy where the gross exploitation of vulnerable workers is the order of the day.”

He added that SIPTU members will also engage in “a national campaign to apply pressure on the Government to commence the task of abolishing the Universal Social Charge and replacing it with a new mechanism which will be equally efficient as a means of raising revenue from the better off while removing the burden on those on low to middle incomes.”

Welcoming the dramatic election victory of Syriza in Greece last weekend he said that it signalled the end of nightmare of the one-sided austerity experiment across Europe.

“The intellectual case for one-sided austerity is utterly redundant.  It didn’t work in theory and now we know, at horrendous cost, that it doesn’t work in practice either.  The experiment has been tried and failed spectacularly.  That analysis is no longer restricted to those on the Left but is clearly evident across the mainstream of the political spectrum,” he said.

The SIPTU President called for a new ‘concordat’ between labour and capital which would replicate the great post war settlement that resulted in more than a generation of unprecedented and consistent economic growth, raising living standards in Western Europe to a greater degree than had ever been experienced before over a similar timeframe in recorded history.

In the approach to the centenary of the 1916 Rising, Jack O’Connor also called on Irish social democrats, left republicans and independent socialists to set aside sectarian divisions and to “develop a political project aimed at winning the next General Election on a common platform, let’s call it ‘Charter 2016’.”  He said that it must set out what an alternative left of centre government “would be for as distinct to what we are against.”

SIPTU to seek 5% pay rises across public and private sectors

SIPTU wants abolition of Universal Social Charge

SIPTU calls for 5% pay hikes for workers


SIPTU to attend NMBI talks

SIPTU has accepted an invitation to enter into talks with the Nurses and Midwives Board of Ireland (NMBI) on Thursday 5th of February.

SIPTU Nursing Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said following Minister for Health Leo Varadkar’s recent request that the NMBI, and the three nursing unions, meet to discuss solutions to the current deadlock.  

“The purpose of this meeting is to discuss, and agree, a framework for discussions, involving an independent third party chair if necessary, in an effort to resolve the current dispute,” said Kevin Figgis

He also said that the campaign will continue and advised SIPTU members to only pay €100 to the NMBI, when their personal circumstance allows, as previously advised.

“This new initiative, to resolve the current dispute, comes about as a direct result of the success of our hard fought campaign of resistance and I thank all members and the public for their support”

NMBI must answer questions on fee increase

The Nurses and Midwives Board of Ireland (NMBI) is being asked by its members to justify, with supporting evidence, why its fees have increased by 80% during a period when their take home pay has been reduced twice.

SIPTU Nursing Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “Our union is requesting that Nurses and Midwives send a letter to the NMBI outlining their concerns on the increase and demanding reasons how it can be justified at a time when their pay has decreased dramatically and their working week has increased.

“Our members need concrete answers from the NMBI as to why this increase has come about and for transparency in how the NMBI spends the millions of euro collected in existing fees.  A template letter has been drafted for members to personalise and send to NMBI.”

This letter can be downloaded at siptu.ie. NMBI is currently attempting to increase members’ retention fees from €100 to €150 for 2015.

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar met with NMBI on Thursday, 29th January and further engagement, between NMBI and the unions is scheduled.

“We are pleased that the Minister continues to engage with the unions and the NMBI with a view to finding a solution. The campaign against this fee hike is growing day by day and our members are continuing to circulate, and wear, the registration badges, confirming their involvement in the campaign with pride,” Kevin Figgis said.

19/01/2015 Comments are off Health Division

Minister for Health calls for talks in NMBI fee dispute

Unions have welcomed a call from the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) to enter into talks aimed at resolving a dispute arising from the Board’s attempt to increase its fee by 50%.

Unions have instructed their members to pay the existing fee of €100 in 2015 rather than the €150 demanded by NMBI. In a letter to the NMBI the Minister requests that talks are commenced in order to ensure that no nurse or midwife is removed from the register due to the dispute.

SIPTU Nursing Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “The Minister’s intervention comes at a time when, despite repeated intimidatory statements by the Board, the campaign of opposition remains strong with tens of thousands of nurses and midwives supporting the campaign”.

For more information see:


NMBI Update

SIPTU calls for increase in Home Help services at Dáil hospital crisis protest

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, told over 100 health workers protesting outside Leinster House this afternoon (Wednesday, 14th January) that an immediate increase in Home Help services is critical to solving the overcrowding crisis in our hospitals.

Addressing the protest, organised by unions calling for government action to end the overcrowding crisis in hospital emergency departments, Paul Bell, said: “A lack of available hospital beds is a crucial factor in this worsening crisis. However, there are currently 800 patients waiting to be discharged from hospitals across the State.

“While many of these patients will need nursing home care, many more can and should be enabled to return to their own homes where they can be supported through HSE Home Help services. We have thousands of SIPTU members working as Home Helps who are ready, willing and able to provide the necessary supports to facilitate such a process.”

He added: “The crisis in our hospitals is integrally linked to the running down of health services within our communities. Nearly three million hours have been cut from Home Help services since 2008, with cutbacks only coming to a halt after a concerted campaign by our union.

Watch video of protest here

SIPTU calls for immediate release of HSE ambulance capacity review

SIPTU has called on the HSE to immediately release a capacity review of the National Ambulance Service that was commissioned last year following concerns raised by workers that the service is inadequately resourced.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “The capacity review into the National Ambulance Service must be released immediately and discussed at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health as a matter of priority. 

“Our members have been deeply concerned about the direction of the ambulance service and demanded a capacity review from the Government in February 2014. From the reports we have seen our concerns are completely vindicated.

“We are short 290 highly skilled ambulance professionals who are needed to give life saving treatment to sick and vulnerable citizens. This is unacceptable. Reports in the media today drawing on an independent review of the ambulance service suggest that the key performance indicators set out by HIQA in 2011 were unrealistic and flawed due to the failure to carry out a full capacity review before they were set.

Paul Bell added: “If the National Ambulance Service is to function at the level that HIQA is demanding, and the public deserve, then the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, needs to invest in recruitment, resources and conduct a review into how to develop an effective strategy for community first responses.” 

“The time has come for the Government to stop moving from one health crisis to another. It needs to provide leadership and the public with confidence that the National Ambulance Service is safe, fully resourced and fit for purpose.

SIPTU calls for increased funding for Home Care service to help ease hospitals crisis

SIPTU has called on the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, to immediately increase funding to HSE Home Care services in order to tackle the issue of delayed discharge and overcrowding of patients across the public hospital network.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “There are currently 800 patients waiting to be discharged from hospitals across the State. While many of these will need nursing home care, many more can and should be enabled to return to their own homes where they can be supported through HSE Home Care services. We have thousands of SIPTU members working as Home Helps who are ready, willing and able to provide the necessary supports to facilitate such a process.

“However, over 2 million hours have been cut from Home Care services since 2008, with cutbacks only coming to a halt after a concerted campaign by our union. One legacy of these cuts is that patients who could be supported at home are now more likely to remain in hospital care. At the same time underemployment is now a common feature throughout the Home Care workforce”.

A SIPTU survey has revealed that nearly 7 out of 10 Home Care workers currently have less than 20 hours work per week. The same survey also indicates that 4 out of 5 such workers are seeking additional hours of work. This means in many cases a home care service could be provided for hospital patients enabling many of them to return to live in their own homes under a tailored care plan.

Paul Bell added: “The minister needs to act now to restore funding and hours to this critical service as a key measure to address the ongoing hospital crisis. A comprehensive Government response which addresses the issues of understaffing in our hospitals, and the restoration of hospital beds remains central to any long-term solution to the current crisis. However, provision of adequate funding for HSE Home Care services is one important measure that could quickly assist in alleviating the current situation.”