Over 35,000 nurses and midwives begin 24 hour strike for better pay and conditions
Over 35,000 nurses and midwives began their 24 hour strike this morning.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Association voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action last month.
They are striking between 8am today and 8am Friday for better pay and to tackle issues of recruitment and retention in their sector.
This is the union's first official national strike in two decades.
The INMO's 37,000 members took to the picket line this morning outside hospitals and health care facilities across Dublin, Galway, Cork, Kerry, and elsewhere.
— Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (@INMO_IRL) January 30, 2019
The INMO have said that staff retention issues can only be solved by pay alignment with other health professionals.
Their petition (which you can access here) states that the HSE cannot recruit more nurses and midwives on the current wage.
They are calling on the government and the health service to "take action and raise nurses' and midwives' pay to ensure safe staffing."
Her spoke to Jennifer, a nurse who is picketing outside Connolly hospital, this morning. Having worked as a nurse for 34 years, she said that she is striking for those who want to enter the sector - and for the patients they will look after.
"We’re actually standing here fighting today for the people coming behind us," she said.
"I’m coming to the end of my career but I want people coming in to the profession to have better pay and conditions. We are going to be here all day fighting for our rights and for our patients."
Irish nurses around the world have also shown their support through solidarity rallies in London, Melbourne, Sydney, and Riyadh.
They asked for a "reason to come home" after many left Ireland for better pay and working conditions.
Most planned operations and all outpatient appointments have been cancelled today as a result of the strike. ER departments will be operational, but the HSE has urged only "true emergencies" to present.
A full list of today's and tomorrow's pickets can be found here.