Clare nurses in Australia campaign for ‘reason to come home’

CLARE nurses based in Australia have joined forces with hundreds of their colleagues to show support for their fellow nurses ahead of planned strike action in Ireland.  

“Give us a reason to come home” was the message as up to 300 Irish nurses and midwives working in the Sydney area gathered on the steps of the Sydney Opera House in solidarity of striking nurses.

Speaking at the event last Saturday, organiser Laura Philips urged the Government to entice nurses abroad to come home, and said that pay is “not competitive” when compared to Australia. 

“We will not come home until our skills are recognised and we are paid equally with other allied health professionals,” she said.

The protest follows the announcement earlier this month that Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) members are to hold a number of 24-hour strikes in the coming weeks. 

With the first of six planned strikes set to take place on Wednesday, January 30, the nursing representative body met with the HSE and the Department of Health on Monday, January 21 in a bid to avoid such actions.

Despite this, the INMO confirmed that no proposals to avert the upcoming strike were made. 

“Preparations for the strike continue,” said INMO general secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha. 

“It is time for the government to get real and make serious proposals to resolve this,” she added.

If unresolved following the initial strike day next week, nurses have pinpointed Tuesday, January 5 and Thursday, January 7, as dates for further one-day strikes and then on February 12, 13 and 14.

The industrial action will see nurses withdraw their labour for 24 hours, providing only lifesaving care and emergency response teams. 

According to the INMO, the dispute centres on safe staffing in the public health service with claims made that the HSE has not been able to recruit and retain enough nurses and midwives on current wages.

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