Cork TDs in call for better pay for student nurses and midwives

Cork TDs in call for better pay for student nurses and midwives

A Cork TD has called for the reintroduction of a payment that matches that of a healthcare assistant, as was the case last March.

A Cork TD has called for the payment of student nurses and midwives to be increased, describing the current wage as “a scandal”.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday afternoon, Solidarity TD Mick Barry noted the number of deaths as a result of Covid-19, and discussed the decision by the Government to suspend placements for nursing and midwifery students through first to third year.

The suspension came into effect on Monday but does not include final year students.

“With all of this going on, you have decided that fourth-year students should go into the hospitals, overwhelmingly female, overwhelmingly young, into Covid wards, into hospitals raging with Covid, risking their lives, risking their health, and that they should be paid less than €10 an hour, less than the minimum wage,” said Mr Barry.

He called for the reintroduction of a payment that matches that of a healthcare assistant, as was the case last March.

“It should be reversed, it’s not too late to be reversed. They’ve been paid the healthcare assistants rate before, do it again.

“You know it’s the right thing to do.”

'Gaslighting an entire generation'

Speaking on the motion to pay student nurses and midwives, Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns said that the Government is “gaslighting an entire generation”.

The West Cork TD called on the Government to reintroduce the payment given to student nurses and midwives last March “as a bare minimum”.

“We are now back to where we were last March, so the Government need to bring our student nurses and others who are working in hospitals back to where they were last March as a bare minimum,” said Ms Cairns.

“We need certainty for students in healthcare in their placements and contracts as healthcare assistants for these students.”

Ms Cairns said that generations of young Irish people have been forced to emigrate and called for the Government to address the issues raised by young people working in healthcare.

Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould said:

“Sinn Féin...brought a motion before the Dail that would see student nurses and midwives paid for the work they are doing on the Covid-19 frontline. I was proud to speak in support of this motion.

“I raised the issue of travel allowances. This is calculated from the university and not a student’s home. Those working in the Bons Secours in Cork get no travel allowance despite travelling from areas such as Glanmire.

“I am calling on all TDs from across all parties in Cork North Central to do the right thing and back this motion.

“The Minister for Health has suggested paying student nurses and midwives just €100 per week. This won’t cut it.

“There should be no more empty promises or delays. This is a crisis.

“The review the Minister based this small sum on was conducted before the current crisis and recognised that, if the situation changed, that it would be appropriate to return to the March pay agreement.

“Where students are needed to fill employment gaps they should be paid appropriately.

“There was a severe staffing crisis before the pandemic, and now it is even worse.

“Throughout the pandemic, student nurses and midwives have been working bravely and tirelessly every day to protect our families and communities from Covid-19.

“The way the Government has treated them has been nothing short of insulting. It’s time to do the right thing and ensure they are paid properly. They deserve respect and must be protected from exploitation.

“Sinn Féin’s motion next week will ensure the March pay agreement returns. This is more important than ever, as the public health crisis worsens.

“The Government cannot keep trying to hide from this issue. Sinn Féin will stand up for student nurses and midwives to ensure they are treated fairly.

“The decision to pay student nurses and midwives lies with the Minister for Health but Minister Harris is also responsible for protecting students from exploitation.

“The time to deliver is now.”

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