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Source: People Before Profit Ireland

This week Government TDs from Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Greens voted down a Solidarity- People Before  Profit proposal.

Here is a shortened version of the resolution:

That Dáil Éireann notes that:

— 4,000 student nurses and midwives have been working on the frontline in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic;

— these students are carrying out essential work and are compensating for the long-term understaffing of our health service as well as covering for Covid-19-related absences of qualified staff;

— 11,369 health care workers have been infected with Covid-19, 16.6 per cent of all cases in Ireland, 59 of whom were admitted to Intensive Care Units;

— these students were briefly paid the Health Care Assistant (HCA) rate in Spring in recognition of the essential nature of the work, but this payment has since ceased, and they now receive no payment for their work;

— these students are actually paying for the ‘privilege’ of doing unpaid work in their placements, with fees of between €3,000 and €7,500;

— the vast majority of these students are women and their exploitation is also a reflection of gender inequality;

— these students utterly refute the recent claim by the Minister for Health that his refusal to pay them for their placement work is in order to ‘protect their education’;

calls on the Government to:

— immediately reinstate the payment of student nurses and midwives who are in placements during the Covid-19 pandemic at the HCA rate;

— urgently engage with student nurses and midwives and their union representatives to establish a bursary or payment system that will fully acknowledge the work they do in our health service and will cover the costs of travel and accommodation for the length of their placements;

— abolish all fees for students who are training to work on the frontline of the health service in order to stem the ‘brain drain’, and allow the Health Service Executive to recruit a sufficient number of staff to run our health service at safe and adequately staffed levels; and

— ensure parity of pay, conditions and esteem for nurses and midwives with all other paramedical graduates, including the 37-hour week.”

And any challenges arising;

— a review of placement allowances, inclusive of independent appraisal and stakeholder engagement;

— commitment to early agreement on any potential changes to allowances; and

— new opportunities for students to achieve learning outcomes across a variety of settings, including remote environments and telehealth.

We need to get these parties out – and get a proper left government that will stand up for working people.

MIL OSI United Kingdom