Nurses and midwives are taking strike action in southern Ireland over pay and workplace conditions. A national rally is taking place today, in Dublin, as the nurses' union, INMO, plans a third week of strike action.
Below is a the text of a leaflet distributed by the Socialist Party in Ireland in support of the industrial action.
Nurses and Midwives have rightly said enough is enough. Strike action reflects the fact that the justifiable anger against pay restraint, lack of pay parity and dangerous work practices has boiled over.
There is clearly massive support for this action amongst working class people generally. This reflects the growing opposition to wage restraint and outrage at the disgraceful manner in which our health service is drastically underfunded. This support along with industrial action must be used to put massive pressure on the government.
The Socialist Party fully supports the decision by the INMO union to call further industrial action in February and to mobilise for a national demonstration this coming Saturday. Socialist Party members and Solidarity TDs [members of the Irish parliament] Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy and Mick Barry have called for full support for the strike of nurses and midwives.
Nurses and Midwives, and their unions, should feel no obligation to ease up their scheduled action if their terms are not met. Maximum pressure needs to be put on the Government to ensure that a victory is won in this battle. It is only on this basis that they will make concessions in negotiations.
The Government are determined that workers only get a piecemeal increase wages and receive only the spare change of this economic recovery, while property developers, big business and the super- rich amass enormous wealth at our expense.
Workers' unity is key
All sections of the trade union movement should mobilise to ensure that we have tens of thousands of workers on the streets of Dublin on Saturday. ICTU (Irish Congress of Trade Unions) should fully back and mobilise for this demonstration.
This would be the beginning of a campaign to build solidarity with the INMO and PNA throughout the trade union movement. Any attempts to cut the increments of INMO and PNA members as punishment for this strike, as Varadkar [Irish prime minister] has threatened to do, must be forcefully resisted by the entire trade union movement.
This should involve setting up support groups in different workplaces and communities to mobilise people on to the pickets. A victory for the nurses and midwives is a victory for all workers and for a fully funded health service.
All workers deserve a wage rise and we need a break with the current public sector pay deal. This current strike should be the beginning of a wider battle by the trade union movement for pay restoration, an end to two-tier pay and precarity. Only on this basis can workers make real gains. Therefore, linking in with other workers, such as paramedics, who are also taking industrial action, is very important.
Socialist Party Stands For:
Pay the Nurses!
- Immediate reversal of all austerity measures- Tax the wealth and profits of the super-rich and big business.
- A living wage for all – Wage increases in line with increases of the cost of living.
Unite and fight!
- Nurses and midwives should not stand alone- For industrial action across the public sector to win pay restoration and an end to two-tier pay.
- €250 million was spent in the first 9 months of 2018 alone on agency staff. End the outsourcing of jobs in the health service- for all staff to be directly employed.
Separate church and state! For a secular national healthcare system!
- For a national health service, free at the point of use, and that is democratically run by its workforce and the wider working class.
- Take all aspects of healthcare out of the hands of the profiteers – bring the private hospitals, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies into democratic public ownership.
Oppose the rigged economy
- Reject the EU fiscal rules and the capitalist rigged economy – they leave us with second class health care and poor pay and conditions.
- Take the wealth and resources of society into democratic public ownership so that it can be invested into top quality public services to meet our needs, not those of private profit.
We get wage restraint. They get…
- The richest 300 people in Ireland have €80 billion in wealth
- The richest 3 of these have €29 billion in wealth
- The average remuneration for the CEOs of the top 26 companies was €2.3 million last year.