Kilkenny hospital services operating as usual as nurses call off three-day strike
HOSPITAL services in Kilkenny will resume as normal this morning after a dramatic eleventh-hour breakthrough in talks put the brakes on a three-day national nurses’ strike.
Nurses in Kilkenny were due to return to the picket line outside St Luke’s General Hospital and Kilcreene hospital from this morning, which threatened to cripple patient services.
However, the action was called off after the Labour Court’s intervention yielded the first positive development in the dispute.
It is understood the court has recommended an enhanced nurses practice salary scale in return for ‘productivity’ measures. Under the recommendation, nurses with certain qualifications will be offered the opportunity to move to this new scale.
The final details are to be worked out as part of new contract discussions.
It also says that there will be an expert review of the nursing profession, and that the unions will cooperate fully with the roll out of a healthcare assistant review.
The court’s proposal also says that an agreement reached last year to address two tier pay for recent recruits to the public service will be revised for nurses.
More information on whether industrial action will be called off in the long-term won’t be known until all matters have been considered by the union and its members.
It is understood that the Psychiatric Nurses Association also plans to suspend strikes planned for today, tomorrow and Thursday.
More than 40,000 nurses were due to strike for the next three days.
Two 24-hour strikes over the past fortnight were followed by a major protest in Dublin city centre on Saturday.
Reacting to the news that the strike was suspended, Health Minister Simon Harris said he hoped the breakthrough will mean the end of the dispute.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghda confirmed a decision had been made to “suspend the action for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to allow time to consider the Labour Court recommendations.”
Ms Ni Sheaghda said the union meet tomorrow to “give full consideration” to the Labour Court’s recommendation.
The strike action would have affected thousands of patients in Kilkenny and across Ireland.