Nursing members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) have voted overwhelmingly to reject proposals by the Public Service Pay Commission. PNA will now convene a special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in November with a view to seeking a mandate for industrial action, up to and including strike.
The PNA has stated that the Public Service Pay Commission Report had failed completely to understand the scale of the recruitment and retention crisis in the mental health services and the impact this is having on the delivery of services.
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said nurses who are experiencing the impact of the staffing shortages on a daily basis were extremely disappointed with the findings of the Pay Commission and its totally inadequate proposals.
Regional unemployment rate leaps ahead of that of the UK as a whole for first time in a year
Fears of Brexit risks and failure to bring forward manufacturing strategy are factors in economic decline
October 16th: Davy Thompson, Regional Coordinating Officer for Unite, responded to the release of figures confirming that the unemployment rate in Northern Ireland had increased substantially and was now higher than the UK average.
“Today’s unemployment figures are very concerning for anyone with ambition for jobs and skills in our economy. The joblessness rate has increased sharply reflecting the broader weakening of the Northern Ireland economy which is facing a significant reduction in productive investment.
“For the first time in a year, our unemployment rate is now above that of the rest of the UK. Combined with high numbers who have fallen outside the active labour force, the proportion employed in Northern Ireland continues to be the lowest by some way in Britain and Ireland.
“The absence of a Northern Ireland Executive is a major part of the problem. Our economy has been left rudderless but the truth is that even when we had Ministers in place, they voted down proposals led by trade unions and industry for a manufacturing strategy for the region.
“The consequences of that political decision have left Northern Ireland’s productive economy without any means for effective intervention in the face of the rising uncertainties and risks of the Brexit process. Action is needed by government now to mitigate the impact of dislocation which appears increasingly unavoidable over the next year”, Mr Thompson said.
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Sligo News File
There were strong exchanges in the Dail when last weekend a South of Ireland Deputy challenged agriculture Minister Michael Creed over his handling of the fodder crisis.
TD Mattie McGrath spoke of conditions in “Tipperary, east Waterford, south Kilkenny and east Cork, as well as other parts of the country” where he said farmers were “completely burned by the drought.”
He said: “The Minister has made no real effort to address this.
“I would love to know what inducements he is giving to stakeholders to come up with the figures he has given us. The situation on the ground is very different and many farmers have huge issues with not having enough fodder and no way of getting funding. The banks effectively are not working and the money announced in last year’s budget was not drawn down, while this year’s budget was a damp squib for agriculture.
“Suckler herds are on their knees and farmers in that sector wanted €200 per cow, but the Minister gave them €40, but one must weigh calves and their mothers, meaning the farmers must spend €50 to get €40. The Minister’s treatment of farmers is farcical.”
Creed: “The Deputy should reflect seriously on the accusation he has made against Teagasc to the effect that it has manipulated figures. It conducted a national fodder survey, the veracity of which has been accepted by all stakeholders. I accept that within the national deficit of 11%; there are individual holdings where it is higher. The best outcome from the stakeholder forum was the advice from the advisory services, namely, Teagasc, private advisers or co-operatives. The Deputy should reflect on his charge that a State organisation has manipulated figures.”
McGrath: “It has questions to answer.”
Creed: “The Deputy is seeking a cheap headline. It is rather unfortunate to try to make a cheap political point on the backs of farmers, who have had an extremely difficult year.”
McGrath: “The farmers have sleepless nights. Certain others do not.”
Creed: “It is a hit-and-run effort by Deputy Mattie McGrath. He will not even stay for the rest of Question Time.”
McGrath: “The Minister does not even run or hit.”
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