The Workers’ Party have offered their full support and solidarity to nurses and midwives, due to take strike action on 30th January, and said that the strike shows up twenty years of decimation of the public sector by successive right-wing governments.
Cllr. Éilis Ryan, Workers’ Party representative in Dublin and candidate in the 2019 European Elections said:
“In 100 years of trade union organisation, the nursing unions are going on strike for only the second time in their history. In a profession which is challenging, under-resourced and under-paid, this fact shows the scale of commitment which nurses and midwives have to their patients.
“Unfortunately, in an Ireland where right-wing governments have had near-permanent control, strike action has been forced on nurses once again. I believe the actions of nurses are essential, not only for their own wellbeing, but also in order to prevent a further deterioration of conditions in our hospitals – something nurses are more acutely aware of than any Minister.”
Cllr. Ryan concluded:
“In 1999, when the nursing unions last went on strike action, we had a Fianna Fáil government led by Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen.
“Twenty years later, a decade of coalitions between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and the Greens have seen the terms and conditions of public sector workers attacked by successive governments. From Ahern to Varadkar, these governments have united in driving down wages across our public services. This strike is a well-justified response to those efforts.”
Cllr. Ryan continued:
“Nobody in their right mind could possibly say that a nurses’ job is less challenging, or requires less skill, than that of the many other health professionals who are paid more than them. The real opposition to paying nurses properly is because of the sheer numbers of nurses needed to keep our health service working properly – some 80,000 compared with 19,000 doctors and 3,000 physiotherapists, for example.
“Is there any justice in this whatsoever? It is not a nurse’s fault that they are required in such great numbers. And yet, as far as a Fine Gael government is concerned, the bottom line will always be more important than justice and fairness.”