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The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) recently reached a historic agreement with the government concerning better working conditions, improved pay, and staffing levels. This agreement, which came after months of negotiations, averted a potentially disastrous INMO strike that could have led to thousands of cancelled and postponed medical appointments across the country.
The INMO has been advocating for better working conditions and improved pay for its members for years, arguing that the current working conditions are untenable and unsustainable. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these issues, with nurses and midwives facing unprecedented levels of stress and exhaustion as they care for patients battling the virus.
The agreement reached between the INMO and the government seeks to address some of these issues by increasing staffing levels, providing better pay grades for some positions, and introducing a range of new measures to improve working conditions. For example, the government has committed to increasing the number of nurses and midwives employed in the health service by 1,000 over the next year. This will help to reduce the workload on existing staff and improve patient care.
The agreement also includes a pay increase of up to 2.5% for some nursing and midwifery positions, while lower-paid staff members will receive a flat rate increase of €1,000. Additionally, the agreement provides for the introduction of new leave arrangements, including an extra day of annual leave for staff who have completed five years of service and an additional day for those who have completed ten years.
The INMO strike agreement is a significant achievement for the union and its members, who have long been calling for greater support and recognition from the government. However, some members have expressed disappointment that the agreement did not go far enough to address all of their concerns, particularly regarding pay and staffing levels.
Overall, the INMO and the government deserve credit for reaching this agreement and avoiding a potentially disastrous strike. The agreement represents a positive step forward for the nursing and midwifery professions in Ireland and will hopefully lead to better working conditions and improved patient care in the years to come.