Brendan Ogle: dispute symptomatic of wider problem in unequal society
January 30th: As members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation take industrial action around the country, Unite has written to the INMO informing them that we have advised our members to follow good trade union practice and not engage in work ordinarily done by the workers in dispute.
Unite has also advised its members that, if they decide as a matter of personal conscience not to pass official pickets placed by the INMO, Unite will fully support and stand with its members.
Commenting, Unite’s Senior Officer in the Republic of Ireland, Brendan Ogle, said:
“No worker decides to take industrial action lightly. That the workers in dispute feel compelled to take such action speaks to the declining nature of our public health service and increasingly poor treatment of both staff and patients. Nurses and midwives deserve the solidarity of trade unionists, as they take action today, and Unite asks that its members do nothing to undermine their action”.
Speaking on the day of a major union-led housing conference, Mr Ogle pointed out that – like other workers – nurses are struggling to meet spiralling housing costs on nursing wages which, in real terms, are lower than in 2008:
“Today’s dispute is symptomatic of a wider problem in our unequal society. Unless we bring down rampant costs through the provision of public housing and state sponsored childcare, workers in a range of sectors will find themselves forced to take action to secure a decent standard of living, or – in the case of many young people who should be the future of our health service – they are forced to take employment elsewhere to secure their futures. An economy based on property price inflation and relatively poor pay increases will only result in continuing damage to our public health services”, Mr Ogle warned.