SIPTU nurses to highlight pay injustice for graduates

SIPTU nursing representatives will meet with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and health spokespeople from the opposition parties, on Thursday, 22nd September, as part of their campaign to highlight the injustice of the non-payment of incremental credit to nurses who graduated between 2011 – 2015.

To further highlight the campaign, SIPTU nursing members will protest, alongside their colleagues in the INMO and PNA, outside Dáil Eireann on Tuesday, 27th September at 11.30 a.m.

SIPTU Nursing and Midwifery Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “Last December, SIPTU nursing representatives, the INMO and the PNA concluded an agreement with the HSE and the Department of Health that restored incremental credit for the 36-week Nursing Internship for those who graduated from 2011 onwards.

“However, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) subsequently amended part of the agreement, making the incremental credit only payable to nurses who graduated in 2016 onwards. This means that 2011-2015 nursing and midwifery graduates are left in a position where they will be earning substantially less than their colleagues who qualified prior to 2011. Evidence points to this pay injustice and two tier system as having a detrimental effect on recruiting and retaining nurses.”

SIPTU Organiser, John McCamley, said: “A recent survey, carried out by the Union of Students of Ireland cites the withdrawal of incremental credit as a contributing factor to graduate nurses who remained in Ireland, now deciding to leave and those that left deciding to stay working abroad.

 “The DPER can remove this barrier to recruitment and retention, while also cutting down on spiralling nursing agency costs, by honouring the agreement made in December. It is time that the vital contribution that nurses, who graduated in 2011 – 2015, have made to our public health service, is recognised.”

SIPTU members in St Aidan’s Services protest against the non-payment of increments

SIPTU members in St Aidan’s Services, Gorey, Co. Wexford, a section 39 organisation providing day and residential services for people with intellectual disabilities, held the first in a series of work stoppages today (Wednesday, August 10th) in protest against the non-payment of increments due to them.

SIPTU member and Health Care Assistant in St Aidan’s Services, Helen Tobin said: “We have been in Workplace Relations Commission twice and subsequently to the Labour Court in 2013. The Labour Court ruled in our favour but we still have not been paid what we are owed. We have no choice but to take industrial action. It is very frustrating because we go above and beyond the call of duty yet we are not shown respect for the vital community service we provide.”

SIPTU Organiser, David Morris said: “Our members have been badly let down by the refusal of HSE management to pay them what they are owed. The workers have explored every avenue open to them to find a solution to this dispute and now feel they have no option but to take action to highlight the situation.”

He added: “In 2010, the HSE withdrew funding for salary increments. An agreement is in place that aligns salaries in HSE funded Section 39 organisations such as St Aidan’s Services with HSE consolidated pay rates. HSE workers have had their increments restored so it is only fair that workers in Section 39 organisations enjoy parity of esteem and the same respect.”


The Lansdowne Road Agreement committed the nursing unions and the HSE to meeting directly and engaging on outstanding issues of: incremental credit for 36 week placement, rate of pay during the fourth year work placement and pre-registration post qualification payment.

The unions met with the HSE on 25 September 2015 with a view to commencing these discussions. The unions raised the following points:

  • The well documented current shortage of nursing/ midwifery staff, in the Irish public health service and the negative impact on services that are arising as a result
  • The collective view of the unions is that this has been further impacted upon by the draconian cuts that were imposed on nursing/midwifery students from 2009 onward;
  • We further voiced concerns that nurses in training during the years 2010 to 2014 were subjected to these cuts and do not believe that they will be treated fairly if they return to the Irish health service
  • Likewise students in training cannot see a future in a service which has applied over 40% cuts to their grades
  • The view of the trade unions involved is that correcting these issues would be the first steps in restoring confidence to these groups, and this would positively impact on their retention and recruitment.

The HSE were not in a position to respond and requested a period of three weeks, during which time they will consider the matters and revert to the unions on or before 16 October 2015.

It is the firm belief of SIPTU, the INMO and the PNA that in the event that the employer refuses to engage in respect of these matters, considering the very serious crisis in nursing/midwifery staffing in the Irish health service, we will be forced into a position of consulting with members to commence a public campaign to highlight the need for urgency in dealing with retention and recruitment of nurses and midwives.

Read full statement here