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IRELAND’S Labour Court intervened in a last-ditch bid to avert three days of strike action by nurses in a dispute over pay and a severe staffing crisis in Ireland’s health service.
The Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (INMO), the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) and public-service management were invited to talks late today, chairman of the Labour Court Kevin Foley confirmed.
Tense negotiations held over the weekend failed to break the deadlock with INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha warning that the walkout by more than 40,000 nurses was set to go ahead.
Unions are demanding a 12 per cent pay rise which they say is needed to deal with a recruitment and retention crisis and bring pay parity for graduate nurses, who they claim are paid significantly less than counterparts in other sectors.
The Health and Safety Executive sent a letter to the Fine Gael government on Friday highlighting the risk to patients should the strike go ahead.
In a separate dispute ambulance crews are set to walk out on Friday over union representation and the deduction of subscriptions from staff payroll.
It is understood the HSE is set to call in the army to provide cover, as it did during last month’s strike by members of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association.
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