HSE Pay Deduction Threat Deadline

Nurses and midwives staging a work-to-rule have until 5.30pm this evening to call off their action or face having 13% deducted from their pay. The HSE said it planned to take the action in a bid to recoup the €2m a week which it claimed the dispute was costing.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, the Minister for Health, Mary Harney, said the HSE’s position was not unfair and that it had been made clear to nursing unions in February.

Nurses have reacted angrily to the threat. Speaking in Galway this morning, officials from the Irish Nurses Organisation and the Psychiatric Nurses Association said the move by the HSE to dock pay was a return to the kind of behaviour employers had engaged in in 1913.

They said it was totally provocative and would lead to a serious escalation of the dispute. Their comments came as further two-hour work stoppages were staged today in Cavan, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare and Kilkenny.

There are fears the dispute may escalate after the HSE wrote to unions confirming it will make the deductions if the work-to-rule is not called off.

A special delegate conference of the INO and the PNA will take place tomorrow to consider the situation. Three-hour work stoppages have already been planned for Friday.

Naas General Hospital said it was forced to postpone 15 outpatient appointments and four procedures today, as a result of the two-hour work stoppage.