Today’s nurses’ strike is set to go ahead after communications between health workers and the government reached an impasse.
Over 37,000 members of the INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation) will engage in a work stoppage today in protest at pay and conditions in hospitals.
The 24-hour strike begins at 8am this morning.
At least 50,000 hospital appointments have been cancelled across the country as nurses picket at 240 locations nationwide, reports RTÉ News.
This strike will affection not only hospitals but also respite centres for the elderly and the disabled.
All injury units will also be closed while emergency departments will operate at minimal staff levels.
Members of the public are asked only to go to hospitals when absolutely essential.
Nurses and midwives go back to the picket lines at 8am tomorrow. We asked some of them what going on strike meant to them. ✊ pic.twitter.com/AsVBtZ0rJV
— Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (@INMO_IRL) February 4, 2019
The planned day of industrial action goes ahead after the nurses’ union rejected proposals by Health Minister Simon Harris and Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe.
The ministers said that the government was open to talking about nurses’ issues in relation to hospitals, including a staffing framework to improve patient outcomes.
They ruled out further discussions on pay.
INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha described the move as “cynical” and “disrespectful” to nurses and midwives.
The union has put forward its own proposals for funding increased nurses’ pay which include reducing agency staff costs and cutting back on expensive recruitment tactics.
Further days of strike action are planned for 7, 12, 13, 14, 19 and 21 February.