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04th Dec 2020

Student frontline workers “abandoned” by government, according to UCD SU

Rudi Kinsella

“How can the government expect to retain a workforce that is already fed up with the system before we even qualify?”

Student frontline workers feel “abandoned” by the Government, according to the University College Dublin Students’ Union.

This comes after the Government voted against a motion to pay student nurses and midwives.

UCD Students’ Union is now calling on the government to act urgently to support the proposals set out by the INMO to pay all final-year interns the same rate as healthcare assistants, increase and expand the clinical placement allowance for all other students and to provide full health and safety protection to all students, including payment if they have to go on Covid-related leave.

Meadhbh Flynn, a UCD 4th Year Student Nurse said: “This week in Irish politics has shown that the government would prefer to pay large sums of money to the greyhound industry rather than to student nurses and midwives. We could not be more disappointed with the vote last night but honestly, we were not surprised.

“The Irish government has never respected us. As an intern, I will be starting my career on €10.70 in January despite the fact that last year’s interns got paid at the €14 healthcare assistant rate and despite the fact that 2/4 of my wards will more than likely be Covid wards.

“Nursing and midwifery students in 1st-3rd year (and 4th year C&G students) will be working for free. While we are indeed learning, we are being used to fill in the gaps of a chronically understaffed system.

“Students on placement are struggling to meet their daily learning needs because they are carrying out duties that should be performed by paid staff members.

“It is incredibly discouraging to hear that we do not deserve a fair and proper wage for this work. How can the government expect to retain a workforce that is already fed up with the system before we even qualify?’

You can see which parties voted which way in the People-Before-Profit proposed bill here: