National nursing retention and recruitment talks adjourn

SIPTU nursing representatives will reconvene talks with management of the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health in a dispute over nursing and midwifery retention and recruitment proposals at the Workplace Relations Commission tomorrow morning (Friday, 3rd, March) 

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SIPTU Nursing representatives meet management to discuss recruitment and pay

SIPTU Nursing representatives held a meeting with senior management at the Health Service Executive (HSE), Department of Health and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, today (Monday, 23rd January), to discuss the recruitment and pay of nurses and midwives.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “We found our engagement with management both informative and productive. There was a robust exchange of views and management was left in no doubt of the determination of our nursing members to have issues concerning their pay and the recruitment and retention of staff resolved.”

At the meeting, SIPTU nursing representatives reaffirmed that the union, as an affiliate of the ICTU Public Service Committee, will continue to forcefully make the case for pay restoration, pay progression and pay justice for its members.

Bell added: “At the meeting, we made it clear that it is our belief that the Public Service Pay Commission remains the best method for resolving the pay issue for nurses and other health workers. However, we will continue to engage with management and express our determination to achieve pay progression for our nursing members.”

SIPTU Nursing Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “The meeting was an opportunity to exchange views and position documents with management on issues which continue to impact on the working lives of our members and the public who depend on them. We have agreed to engage in further meetings and dialogue. There is the potential to make significant progress on all issues relating to recruitment, retention and pay of nursing and midwifery professionals.”

SIPTU nursing members to stage a lunchtime protest to highlight staff shortages in Cavan General Hospital

Members of SIPTU Nursing in Cavan General Hospital will take part in a lunchtime protest today, (Tuesday, December 13th) at 1.00p.m. to highlight staffing shortages at the hospital.  

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Sean Nolan said; “Our members are concerned that inadequate staffing levels are impacting upon patient care and are affecting the health, safety and well-being of the staff in Cavan General Hospital. They are frustrated and disappointed at management’s inadequate response to the issue so far and have been left with no other option but to take this course of action.”

SIPTU representatives met management at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) last Thursday, December 8 but no concrete proposals were agreed. A further meeting is scheduled with the WRC on Tuesday, December 20th.

SIPTU calls on HSE to open community nursing home beds in County Louth

SIPTU members in Elderly Services have called on the management of the HSE to prioritise the opening of community nursing home beds in County Louth which have been closed, or are yet to open, due to a shortage in nursing staff.

SIPTU Organiser, John McCamley, said: “Our members are calling on the HSE to immediately move to re-open nine beds which were closed in the Cottage Hospital in Drogheda and to open nine new beds in the St Oliver Plunkett Community Unit in Dundalk.

“Staff members have been informed that these 18 beds are not available for use due to a lack of nursing staff in the facilities. This problem is directly linked to the delay by the HSE in approving the filling of nursing posts at a national level.

“The bed closures in the Cottage Hospital have also affected Health Care Assistants in the facility who have been redeployed to other areas, a move which is likely to impact on their earnings due to roster changes.”

McCamley added: “The management of the HSE was aware for some time of the impending crisis in nursing levels within Elderly Services in Louth. However, due to the slowness of its bureaucratic process in approving the advertisement of nursing posts we now have a situation where 18 beds are lying idle.

“If these beds remain unavailable during the winter months it will directly result in an increased strain on local hospital emergency departments as they are forced to deal with elderly patients who should be being cared for in a residential setting.”


“Our members are demanding that the HSE process for approving the advertisement of nursing posts is streamlined and that the opening of community nursing home beds in County Louth is made a priority.”


SIPTU member Breda Liston elected onto the NMBI

SIPTU member Breda Liston was elected on the first count to the Nurses and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) on 30th November.

During her election campaign, Breda stressed the importance of having strong trade union representation on the NMBI.

“I am delighted to have received such a firm mandate from nurses and midwives to represent our interests on the NMBI. I have been an active trade unionist all my working life and will continue to be a voice for fairness and value for money for all the nurses and midwives across the country.

“I hope to bring transparency to the NMBI, to campaign to reduce waiting times for nurse’s registration and to protect the integrity of the Lansdowne Road Agreement in relation to its commitment not to increase the NMBI retention fee.

“I wish to thank everyone who voted for me.”

SIPTU Nurses and Midwives Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis said: “Our candidates ran fantastic campaigns full of energy and enthusiasm. The engagement with our membership during these campaigns has been very encouraging. I look forward to working with Breda over the coming years and thank both our candidates for contesting this election.”   

Watch Breda outline what she hopes to bring to the NMBI below


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

Nurses & Midwives To Hold Further Lunchtime Protests Against NMBI Fee Increase

Nurses and midwives, members of SIPTU, INMO and the PNA, will hold further lunchtime protests, in locations across the country, today, Monday, March 2, against the proposed 50% increase in the annual retention fee being sought by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)

Sector Organiser Kevin Figgis said: “Members will hold lunchtime protests, which will not affect any services, in locations across the country including Dublin, Cork, Sligo and Drogheda. The NMBI Board is scheduled to meet, in special session, on this Tuesday, March 3, to consider a proposal to amend the fee having sought to impose this increased fee, without any prior consultation, since January 1, following a 12% increase in the fee imposed in 2014.

The campaign of opposition which has seen tens of thousands of nurses/midwives not paying the increase continues to gather momentum despite repeated efforts, by NMBI, to intimidate nurses and midwives to pay this unprecedented fee increase. This intimidation has taken the form of notices saying nurses and midwives cannot work if they are not on the register. In response, the three nursing unions have pointed out that the health service cannot work without nurses and midwives.

The campaign will continue until the NMBI reverses its decision and restores the previous €100 fee which is the same paid by other health professionals.”

SIPTU confirm Student Nurse protest will not proceed

SIPTU has confirmed that due to a successful campaign in support of student nurses the lunchtime protest scheduled for 26th of February outside St Steevens Hospital will not proceed.
Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis said: “As a result of our student nurses campaign the HSE has retracted its previous position on supernumerary rostering in 1st, 2nd and 3rd year placements for student nurses and has confirmed in writing that it will be upholding the agreement from the Labour Relations Commission in October 2014.
The agreement confirms that supernumerary rostering of student nurses & midwives during 1st, 2nd and 3rd year placement should only provide for normal daytime working hours, MondayFriday.
In addition, the HSE has confirmed that it will seek to identify any areas which are not applying the national agreement and an engagement with stakeholders, including SIPTU Nursing, will be convened to address any issues arising.”

SIPTU nurses and midwives organising local protests against NMBI fee increase

SIPTU nurses and midwives are organising lunchtime protests at hospitals across the country on Monday, 2nd March, to highlight the attempt by the Nurses and Midwives Board of Ireland (NMBI) to increase its retention fee by 50%.

SIPTU Nursing Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “ SIPTU is encouraging all nurse and midwives to stand together and hold a lunchtime protest on 2nd March. This is the day before the forthcoming special NMBI board meeting, which has been called to consider a proposal to amend the fee. “We would encourage all health members to organise with their colleagues to make their voices heard loud and clear on that day. Members should liaise with their local organiser so that they can be advised of the specifics of their local protest.”

He added: “These protests will again demonstrate the strong support for the campaign and for the need for the NMBI board to reverse their decision and restore the €100 fee.”

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.”