By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Hopes are high that an end to the nationwide strike by the country’s 27,500 nurses may be in sight as the Labor Court focuses on possible settlement terms.
Marathon "process" negotiations between unions and government over the bank holiday weekend, under the chairmanship of Labor Court deputy chairman Kevin Duffy, sought common ground on a number of the nurses’ grievances.
One of the main problems is to find a way around a core demand of the nurses for long service increments for staff nurses — representing about 80 percent of the profession — without causing a whole series of knock-on pay claims throughout the public service.
To deal with this, a new grade of senior staff nurse has been agreed in principle to create a longer career structure, but what will be crucial are the number of such posts and how much they will be paid.
Facing into talks on a new partnership agreement with the trade unions and employers, the government is anxious to avoid a deal that will have a domino effect on other groups like gardai and teachers.
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.